WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement after voting against the “Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology (FIRST) Act” in the Science, Space, and Technology Committee:
“This is yet another case of politicians getting in the way of letting scientists do their work. Instead of funding science at the levels necessary to ensure American competitiveness in research and discovery, this bill undercuts our ability to keep pace with countries that are making investments today. Now is the time for the United States to be leading the way in innovation and research not slashing the science, injecting politics into the scientific process and peer review, and putting our country on a continued path away from the top.”
Rep. Peters had three amendments to the FIRST Act, two of which were included in the final bill. The first requires that the federal working group tasked with reviewing federal regulations on research consult the non-federal stakeholders, including researchers, businesses, and academic institutions, that would be subjected to the changes. The second would require the National Academy of Sciences to report on the role of incubators and accelerators, specifically noting the role that universities play in fostering their development. The third, which was defeated, would have created a Federal Acceleration of State Technology (FAST) Commercialization pilot program to leverage efforts happening in states that help technologies move from development to the commercial market.
The FIRST Act, which authorizes funding for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 at the same or lower amounts than has already been enacted, does not keep our investment in science at pace with inflation. This comes as China is increasing its support for basic scientific research by 12.5%. In 2012, Brazil increased its federal science funding by 33%.