Bipartisan Letter Supporting Aid for National Laboratories in Next Coronavirus Relief Package

Jun 8, 2020

by ASME.org

Congressmen Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) have circulated a bipartisan letter supporting investments in scientific infrastructure at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Laboratories in the next COVID-19 recovery package. The letter is addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and asks the House leaders to consider investing in the nation’s scientific infrastructure when crafting the next coronavirus relief package. Specifically, the letter calls for modernization efforts, including investments in maintenance, repairs, and shovel-ready construction programs that will enable the National Laboratories to continue their advanced scientific research that has allowed America to remain economically competitive and secure.

The letter calls attention to $27 billion worth of shovel-ready infrastructure modernization projects at National Laboratory’s that when completed, will better allow the DOE Labs to fulfill their missions. Specific projects include:

  • Acceleration of ongoing Line-Item Construction Projects, including user facility upgrades
  • Major Items of Equipment, including instrument recapitalization
  • General Plant Projects
  • Operating and Major Maintenance
  • Facility Decommissioning, Demolition and Cleanup

The Members of Congress supporting this intuitive believe that address scientific infrastructure concerns through focused investment during the coronavirus pandemic would immediately support thousands of high-quality, well-paying jobs that are urgently needed. In addition to creating jobs, the investment would support ongoing COVID-19 researching taking place across the 17 DOE National Laboratories.

The letter calls attention to the work the DOE Labs are doing to fight the coronavirus pandemic, stating that “During the COVID-19 crisis, our National Labs have provided their expertise and facilities to help overcome the COVID-19 challenge, including the use of DOE’s supercomputers to search for treatments and vaccine therapies, X-ray light sources to understand the virus and identify potential vulnerabilities, and advanced manufacturing expertise to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators.”

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