Lipinski Helps Move America COMPETES Act Through Committee, Promoting Job Creation by Investing in Science Education, Innovative Research, and Manufacturing

Today, Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman Dan Lipinski helped lead passage of bipartisan legislation through the House Science and Technology Committee to maintain America’s leading position in the global economy and create jobs by investing in science education and innovative research in areas such as manufacturing. The America COMPETES Act, H.R. 5116, includes Chairman Lipinski’s National Science Foundation reauthorization bill. It also contains measures he authored to establish prizes for breakthrough scientific research and to require the Department of Energy to develop a plan to increase the number of American products bought by our National Laboratories, including Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. 

“This bill is about creating American jobs and laying the groundwork for long-term economic prosperity,” said Chairman Lipinski, a former college teacher and researcher who holds two engineering degrees. “If Americais going to continue to be the world’s leading source of innovation and job creation, we cannot rest, not when Chinaand other countries are working feverishly to overtake us. This bill will help us maintain our competitive edge by doubling our investment in basic research programs; supporting transformative research in key areas such as clean energy; improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; investing in research to enhance the manufacturing sector’s productivity and innovation; and improving programs to ensure researchers’ discoveries translate into new products, jobs, and companies.” 

“Northwestern University strongly supports the reauthorization of the COMPETES Act, and thanks Congressman Lipinski for his leadership on this important legislation,” Northwestern President Morton O. Schapiro said. “We especially commend Congressman Lipinski’s concern with human investment. By cultivating the next generation of scientists and engineers, this bill helps to ensure that our future workforce will have the education and skills to compete in the global marketplace.”  

Chairman Lipinski’s NSF reauthorization helps American manufacturing by authorizing grants to colleges and universities for high-tech manufacturing research. And it strengthens the nation’s high-tech workforce through new grant and fellowship programs designed to improve STEM education and participation at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Chairman Lipinski’s Buy American amendment would support high-skill, high-wage jobs at innovative small U.S.manufacturers by requiring the Department of Energy to develop a plan for increasing hardware purchases from domestic sources. This will help local manufacturers such as Meyer Tool & Manufacturing Inc. in Oak Lawn, which supplies a number of National Laboratories.

 In addition, the COMPETES Act includes Chairman Lipinski’s bipartisan GENIUS Act, H.R. 5094, which creates an NSF program to offer up to $12 million in cash prizes for solving crucial basic research problems in science and engineering. A cost-effective way to inspire researchers to tackle difficult problems, the GENIUS Act draws on the long history of prize programs, which includes such recent successes as the $10 million Ansari X Prize, which resulted in the development of a reusable manned spacecraft. For more on the GENIUS Act, see the attached press release. 

“Congressman Lipinski’s leadership in advancing the NSF reauthorization process as part of the larger COMPETES Act reauthorization acknowledges the importance of sustaining investments in basic research as part of an economic recovery,” University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmersaid. “We commend Congressman Lipinski for his active engagement of the research community by holding a number of listening sessions throughout the legislative process.” 

“By supporting the scientific leaders of tomorrow, the National Science Foundation builds a sturdy foundation for knowledge based industries, which in turn lay the groundwork for improved scientific literacy, high-quality future employment, and sustainable economic growth,” said Lance Grande, Senior Vice President of Collections and Research at the Field Museumin Chicago. “We want to thank Congressman Lipinski for his work on the NSF reauthorization and the broader COMPETES Act, and for listening to our views and needs.” 

“History shows that substantial and targeted investments in education and research pay tremendous dividends in the form of increased economic growth and job creation,” Chairman Lipinski said. “The COMPETES Act takes a proactive and bipartisan approach to securing America’s position in the 21st century global economy. It acknowledges the challenges Americafaces from abroad, but shows that we are prepared to work together as a nation to overcome them and build on our unparalleled record of innovation. I look forward to continuing to help guide this bill to passage this year.”

(April 29, 2010)