APS urges rapid action on House reauthorization of 2007 bipartisan America COMPETES bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Physical Society (APS), a leading organization of physicists, today called for swift action on the U.S. House reauthorization of the 2007 bipartisan America COMPETES legislation, after the bill was sent back to the Science & Technology Committee for legislative changes.

The legislation authorizes funding in basic scientific research, innovation and education at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It was developed to keep the U.S. on a path of sustained economic growth, strengthen innovation and invest in the next generation of scientists and engineers.

APS is dismayed that the bill became engulfed in partisan politics during an election year and calls on both Democrats and Republicans to work together to pass the legislation. The stakes are too high to put science on hold as our nation grapples with an extraordinary set of challenges that demand investments in research. Creating jobs, restoring economic growth, achieving energy security, reducing our carbon footprint and keeping our population safe all rely on technological innovation.

Gutting the essence of the COMPETES reauthorization bill, as the “Motion to Recommit,” would do, puts our nation on the wrong path at the wrong time. Members of the House of Representatives should put aside partisan interests and support the legislation that America desperately needs. Science should not be politicized.

The first COMPETES bill was authorized in 2007 following the release of the highly acclaimed report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm. The report noted that the U.S. is losing economic ground to countries such as China, India and Korea, all of which are successfully applying the U.S. innovation model in their countries. To better compete with those nations, the report proposed measures to grow an educated and skilled American workforce and to revitalize research at U.S. universities and national laboratories. Read the press release on the APS web site: http://www.aps.org/about/pressreleases/competes10.cfm

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