ASME-Endorsed $25 Billion RISE Act Reintroduced in Congress to Ensure Continuation of Federal Research During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Feb 15, 2021

by ASME.org

Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO), along with 90 additional bipartisan cosponsors, has re-introduced the bipartisan “Research Investment to Spark the Economy Act” (RISE Act) to authorize $25 billion in supplemental funding for federal research agencies to offset costs related to reductions in research productivity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally introduced last June, the legislation seeks to offset the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the research community by assuring funding for many projects that are at risk of being stalled, delayed, or shuttered.
 
The legislation would provide an additional $25 billion to the nation’s science-related agencies, including the U.S. Depts. of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation. The bill specifically mentions the need for investments to ensure future U.S. innovations in areas such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, robotics, computing, 5G, space exploration, and digital agriculture, among others.
 
The bill also references the unique difficulties certain technology sectors are facing in light of the COVID-19 crisis, especially the manufacturing sector, and calls on Congress “to take measures to help relieve the strain agencies will be forced to face and sustain the strength of our Nation’s ability to remain a global leader in an increasingly competitive  global research environment, as other countries continue to make disproportionately large investments in key research areas.”
 
In a press release accompanying the reintroduction of the bill, Rep. DeGette writes that “America has some of the best and brightest minds in the world working on potentially groundbreaking research. We can’t afford to lose them or their important work. Ensuring our researchers have the resources they need to continue finding innovative solutions to some of our nation’s toughest problems is vital to our national security and our ability to remain competitive on the world stage. Any lapse in funding now could set us back years, possibly even decades.”
 
Th bill has been endorsed by ASME along with 325 higher education, research, industry groups and associations.
 
The RISE Act had 148 cosponsors in the House at the end of the 116th Congress. The number of cosponsors is expected to climb from the current 91 as additional Members of Congress sign on.
 

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