White House OSTP Director Testifies Before House Science Committee on Administration’s R&D Priorities
Mar 2, 2020
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier testified before the House Science Committee last week defending the Trump Administration’s research and development (R&D) budget request. Chairwomen Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) opened the hearing sharing that she is “disturbed, although not surprised, to see such a disappointing vision for the future of the United States science and engineering enterprise as is laid out in [the Administration’s] budget proposal.” In his own testimony, Director Droegemeier defended the President’s R&D budget request and highlighted the Administrations focus on the “Industries of the Future”—AI, quantum computing, 5G, biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing.
After Director Droegemeier, the Chair opened the hearing to questions from Committee members. Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL)—the only PhD scientist in Congress—called attention to the emptying pipeline of projects that would support future Federal R&D and the need for increased investment in scientific infrastructure. He questioned the Director about the budget planning processes, saying that agency officials have communicated that they are not taking necessary steps needed to ensure future American leadership in science and technology. Specifically, Congressman Foster asked if the budget were to double over the next decade or so, which he says is a bipartisan target, why aren’t agencies beginning to plan projects today that will ensure the innovation pipeline is ready for necessary growth we hope to see in the future? He also called attention to his own bill, the National Laboratory Restoration Modernization Act, as a starting point to achieve such growth and infrastructure investment.
During her own questioning, Congresswomen Haley Stevens (D-MI) asked the Director to consider involving the President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology (PCAST) more in the R&D budget process, and also called attention to specific R&D programs of national importance that are also supported by ASME, such as Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP). She also brought up the need for increased Federal support for ensuring integrity in science. Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY)—one of the only engineers in Congress—also called on the Director to pursue scientific integrity policy.
For more information or view a recording of the hearing, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=593&v=xEKO6vFmxxk&feature=emb_logo.