Opening Statement of Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Waltz at Research and Technology Subcommittee Markup of the NSF for the Future Act
May 12, 2021
Good Morning Chairwoman Stevens and thank you for holding today’s subcommittee markup of the “NSF For the Future Act.”
Our markup comes at a time when there is broad support for making critical investments in our Nation’s research enterprise. For decades, America has led the world in science and technology, but as the pace of innovation is accelerating, global competition has also increased, and the United States risks losing its edge. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses an especially formidable and growing strategic challenge.
The “NSF For the Future Act” takes important steps in growing the mission of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to ensure we maintain our edge against rising global competition, while protecting the Foundation’s primary mission of supporting fundamental research.
Since its creation over 70 years ago, the NSF has served a unique role among Federal agencies, given its broad mission of “promoting the progress of science, to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare, and to secure the national defense.” In bringing this mission to life, the NSF supports the basic research that fuels major technological innovations, including smartphones, GPS, and the internet, creates new research disciplines, and supports and trains generations of scientists and engineers.
This legislation has been thoughtfully developed to protect NSF’s core mission and more than doubles the amount of research the Foundation will support over 5 years. It includes long-term planning to make strategic and sustainable investments in the STEM workforce to expand and enhance the American talent pipeline, supports the construction and maintenance of world-class facilities, and promotes the research needed to develop revolutionary technologies that are crucial to our national and economic security.
While making these investments, we must focus on protecting taxpayer-funded research and technologies from adversaries like the CCP. Our federal agencies, like the NSF, need the tools and authority to reject grant applications with known participants in malign foreign talent recruitment programs. I look forward to speaking further on this topic when I offer my amendment focused on strengthening safeguards to improve security training and prevent research theft.
With the CCP threatening to leapfrog the United States technologically, we are at an inflection point and it is critical for the U.S. to scale up our R&D enterprise. There is momentum on both sides of the aisle to make these investments, but it must be done in a realistic and sustainable way. By investing in NSF and basic research, American technology, American innovations, and the American workforce will continue to lead the world.
I am proud to be an original co-sponsor for this legislation with Chairwoman Johnson, Ranking Member Lucas, and Chairwoman Steven. I want to thank them and their staff for working together to develop such a strong piece of legislation and I encourage Members to support this bill.
I yielded back the balance of my time.