Washington, DC —
The Science Coalition issued the following statement today from President Deborah Altenburg after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5116, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010:
On behalf of The Science Coalition’s 46 member universities, we thank the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for reauthorizing this vital piece of legislation just days before its expiration and amid a busy lame duck session. The America COMPETES Act has tremendous implications for future job creation, economic growth and American competitiveness abroad.
Extending and funding COMPETES helps protect basic research and research-related jobs today and ensures the vitality of the American economy tomorrow. As noted in the National Academies’ 2005 “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report, which spurred the original passage of COMPETES in 2007, innovation — driven by knowledge and research — is the key to maintaining and enhancing America’s standard of living.
The report called for improvements in the nation’s K-12 education system and increased federal funding for basic research. The America COMPETES Act aimed to achieve these goals, but without sufficient funds appropriated, progress has been limited. Indeed, an updated National Academies report issued in September, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5” concluded that America’s long-term competitiveness outlook has worsened since the original report was published.
While reauthorization of COMPETES helps pave the way for the nation to restore its prosperity, the journey is not yet complete. Without a stable funding mechanism for COMPETES, American innovation is at risk — along with the new technologies, new industries and new jobs that go along with it. Appropriating the funds needed for its programs is an important next step for lawmakers to consider. The members of The Science Coalition look forward to working with the House and Senate to make the promise a reality in 2011.
The Science Coalition is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization of the nation’s leading public and private research universities. It is dedicated to sustaining the federal government’s investment in basic research as a means to stimulate the economy, drive innovation and secure America’s global competitiveness. www.sciencecoalition.org.