Lucas Statement at Rules Committee Markup on Inadequate Funding for American Science in Budget Reconciliation Package
"Thank you, Chairman McGovern and Ranking Member Cole.
This is my first opportunity to provide input on the Science Committee’s portion of the budget reconciliation package, because our Committee failed to hold a markup. The $750 million being spent through an amendment today was not debated or discussed. How can we hope to make good policy when our friends across the aisle won’t even allow discussion?
Unfortunately, that’s where we find ourselves today. Pushing COVID relief through a partisan process isn’t producing results that are in the best interests of America’s families, businesses, and economy. Billions of dollars are going to special interests that already have $1 trillion in unspent funding sitting in the Treasury from previous COVID packages. Meanwhile, the research industry has not received a cent of relief. And in this massive $1.9 trillion bill, only $600 million is allocated to helping the research industry recover from the pandemic. That’s less than half a percent.
We’ve relied on American scientists to combat COVID, but we’re not giving them the funding they need to resume the work that’s been stopped by the pandemic. Restarting our research work requires investment, and it’s long overdue. The longer we go without passing substantial relief, the worse the situation becomes. We’re losing both research AND researchers. Graduate students and post-docs are struggling to find jobs, and our STEM pipeline could be damaged for years.
At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party is working to overtake us in critical technologies. The longer our research remains stalled, the more ground we lose. We can’t afford to sacrifice our competitiveness.
I’ve cosponsored the RISE Act, which would invest $25 billion in restarting American research. That’s the kind of COVID relief we should be considering today when it comes to science – not treating it as an afterthought in a massive partisan spending package."