Alexander Says Economic Growth Demands Increase in Science Funding

Senator Introduces Amendment To Add $600 Million For Basic Science to Meet the President’s Budget Request

Posted on March 12, 2008

**** “We should fully fund the America COMPETES Act to make sure we keep our brainpower advantage so we can keep our jobs from going overseas. That's one good way to help advance a pro-growth plan that will help balance the family budget.” - Lamar Alexander *** U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today introduced an amendment to the FY09 Budget Resolution with Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) that would increase important funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. “The major factor in the high standard of living for this country since World War II has been our brainpower advantage,” Alexander said. “As a result of all that brainpower, we've created a lot of jobs and a high standard of living, and increasingly that's where the new jobs come from. What we're trying to do is to get back on track to double funding for the physical sciences over ten years.” The Bingaman-Alexander Amendment would add $600 million to the General Science, Space and Technology portion of the Budget Resolution, creating room for Congress to fully fund the President’s FY09 request for the Office of Science and the NSF. This amendment would also provide the funds necessary to stay on track with the goals of the America COMPETES Act of 2007, was signed into law by President Bush on August 9, 2007. Alexander was both the Republican manager of debate on this legislation and the lead Senate Republican conferee during final negotiations on the bill with the House of Representatives. Alexander led Republican efforts on the bill for more than two years prior to its final passage. “We believe that better schools and investments in science and technology will keep our edge, and we should fund the America COMPETES Act to make sure we keep our brainpower advantage so we can keep our jobs from going overseas. That's one good way to help advance a pro-growth plan that will help balance the family budget.” The America COMPETES Act, which was signed into law last August, puts research programs at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology on a path to double their budgets during the next decade. It focuses on two primary areas of importance to maintaining and improving U.S. innovation in the 21st century: increasing research investment; and strengthening educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from elementary through graduate school. The amendment introduced today is similar to a Bingaman-Alexander amendment offered to last year’s budget resolution that passed the Senate by a 97 – 1 vote. ###