October 1, 2013

The Honorable Lamar Smith The Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson
Chairman Ranking Member
House Committee on Science, Space and Technology House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
2321 Rayburn House Office Building 2321 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Johnson:

As over 200 university presidents have stated in an open letter to President Obama and the U.S. Congress "[t]he combination of eroding federal investments in research and higher education, additional cuts due to sequestration, and the enormous resources other nations are pouring into these areas is creating a new kind of deficit for the United States: an innovation deficit." We write now, as leading higher education, research, science and business organizations to urge you to send a clear signal that the U.S. Congress is serious about closing the innovation deficit by introducing and passing a strong America COMPETES Act reauthorization bill that authorizes increased funding for key U.S. science agencies.

In both 2007 and 2010, the U.S. Congress passed COMPETES legislation with bipartisan support. With the passage of these bills, Congress established funding targets aimed at doubling funding for these key federal research agencies within seven years with the goal of ensuring continued U.S. leadership in science and technology which provides the foundation for our global and economic competitiveness. These bills sent an important message to the world that our nation and Congress were resolute about addressing concerns raised about the future health of the United States economy by the 2007 National Academies Report "Rising Above the Gathering Storm." This report came in response to a request from a bipartisan group of Senators and House Members who asked what actions policy makers needed to take "...to enhance the science and technology enterprise so that the United States can successfully compete, prosper, and be secure in the global community of the 21st century".

Despite the difficulty of achieving the doubling goal for research funding in the current fiscal environment, we strongly believe a core component of a renewed America COMPETES Act - and one that will be essential for our support - must be to set funding targets that call for real and sustained growth in funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA- E).

We stand ready to work with you to make the case to the public and other Members of Congress that the federal government must close the innovation deficit by making robust investments in science and education if we are to remain the world's innovation leader and continue to reap the economic and national security benefits of such investments.

Anything short of real and sustained growth in federal science investments will take our country backward as other nations surge forward in their efforts to mimic America's success.

The Following Endorsing Organizations (as of October 8, 2013):

Aerospace Industries Association
Alaska SeaLife Center
Albany Area Chamber of Commerce
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Astronomical Society
American Chemical Society
American Educational Research Association
American Geophysical Union
American Geosciences Institute
American Institute of Biological Sciences

See the full list of signatories at https://www.aau.edu/registration/public/COMPETES_Organization_Sign-on_Letter_House_Science_Committee_September_2013.pdf.

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