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Lucas Leads Effort to Ensure Tax Dollars for U.S. R&D Aren’t Sent to Global Adversaries

(Washington, DC) Today, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas led Republican floor debate on a Motion to Instruct House conferees on competitiveness legislation to ensure no funds from the legislation go to persons or entities of concern. The motion contains an important guardrail that ensures taxpayer dollars are not sent to adversaries in the Chinese Communist Party who are actively seeking to use our own technology against us, and passed the House on a bipartisan basis.

“Surely we can all agree that we shouldn’t be sending taxpayer dollars to Communist leadership in China,” Lucas said. “They’re already stealing our discoveries and using them to surpass us economically and militarily. We’re spending the time, money, and effort to plant the seeds of new technologies, but China is the one harvesting the crop. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass legislation to improve U.S. technology and set us up to be globally competitive over the coming decade.”

The Motion instructs House conferees to agree to section 2502 of the Senate-passed competitiveness legislation. This section specifies that no person or entity of concern, as defined by the Department of Defense, can receive grants, awards, or other support from the National Science Foundation, federally funded manufacturing programs, or technology hubs authorized by this legislation.

Lucas emphasized the House Democrats’ failure to include these critical guardrails, opting instead for partisan politics and unrelated Build Back Better rerun provisions.

“This provision preventing funds from going to Chinese military entities and persons of concern was submitted as part of multiple Republican amendments to the Rules Committee, but none of these amendments were made in order,” Lucas said, referring to the congressional process of determining the relevancy of amendments to particular legislation. “I fail to see how amendments limiting taxpayer funds from going to China isn’t relevant to a bill about competitiveness with China.”

Lucas also highlighted multiple bipartisan bills passed by the Science, Space, and Technology Committee–crafted after careful and comprehensive consideration–which double down on investment in basic research, direct the creation of a national science and technology strategy, and improve STEM education and regional research opportunities.

“The Science Committee bills are targeted to the areas where government investment is most needed and will give us the biggest reward,” remarked Lucas. “And we ensure our approach is strategic, focusing on the technologies of the future like quantum sciences, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing. We will keep America competitive and secure and help create good jobs here at home. This legislation should be the foundation for the conference legislation.”

Learn more about these bills here:

Read Lucas’ full remarks here:

“Thank you Madam Speaker. I yield myself such time as I may consume. I rise today to urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this motion to instruct the conferees on our competitiveness legislation.

This motion instructs conference members to agree to section 2502 of the Senate legislation. This section is simple and commonsense: it says that no person or entity of concern can receive grants, awards, or other support from the National Science Foundation, federally funded manufacturing programs, or technology hubs authorized by this legislation.

A person or entity of concern is generally defined by the Department of Defense, as directed by Congress in previous Defense Reauthorization Acts. DOD has identified entities of concern as Communist Chinese military companies and companies owned or controlled by the People’s Liberation Army. And they’ve defined persons of concern as individuals affiliated with these CCP military entities.

Simply put: this motion ensures we aren’t giving taxpayer dollars to the adversaries who are trying to steal U.S. technology and use it against us. The Senate was right to add this important guardrail, and it’s only responsible that we urge our House conferees to ensure it’s included in any final conferenced legislation.

I would like to point out that we wouldn’t have this particular difference in our bills had the process of passing the House legislation been done in regular order. The COMPETES Act was developed in a backroom by the Speaker’s office with very little input or review from relevant committees. Although thoroughly vetted and bipartisan Science Committee bills were included in that package, they were sandwiched in among unrelated, partisan spending that added up to a backdoor attempt to pass parts of the Build Back Better Act. Because of this rushed, opaque bill writing process, unsurprisingly, the COMPETES Act had a lot of flaws.

Despite less than three days to review the bill text, Members submitted more than 600 amendments to the bill. But the Rules Committee, with very little input, made only 261 in order. And of that number only three Republican amendments were given individual debate time on the Floor, with all other Republican amendments being considered en bloc. Not only did Members have little opportunity to write this bill, but they had almost no opportunity to fix its flaws.

I could go on about the danger of passing massive bills like this out of regular order, but for now I’ll focus on this particular issue. This provision preventing funds from going to Chinese military entities and persons of concern was submitted as part of multiple Republican amendments to the Rules Committee, but none of these amendments were made in order. I fail to see how amendments limiting taxpayer funds from going to China isn’t relevant to a bill about competitiveness with China. Democrats’ failure to include similar language in COMPETES is an unfortunate example of an unwillingness to be strong on China and protect our national security. But we have a chance to rectify that now.

Madam Speaker, surely we can all agree that we shouldn’t be sending taxpayer dollars to Communist leadership in China. They’re already stealing our discoveries and using them to surpass us economically and militarily. We’re spending the time, money, and effort to plant the seeds of new technologies, but China is the one harvesting the crop.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass legislation to improve U.S. technology and set us up to be globally competitive over the coming decade. The Science Committee has spent two years preparing for this opportunity. Working together, Republicans and Democrats held meetings with stakeholders, conducted in-depth hearings, and individually marked up more than a dozen bills to strategically scale-up America’s research and development capabilities.

Those bills all passed out of our Committee unanimously, and many passed the House with strong bipartisan support. They double down on investment in basic research at the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science and National Labs, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They also direct the creation and regular review of a national science and technology strategy, as well as improving STEM education and regional research opportunities.

The Science Committee bills are targeted to the areas where government investment is most needed and will give us the biggest reward. And we ensure our approach is strategic, focusing on the technologies of the future like quantum sciences, artificial intelligence, and advanced manufacturing. We will keep America competitive and secure and help create good jobs here at home. This legislation should be the foundation for the conference legislation. Not COMPETES, which is more of a climate change bill than a technology bill. And not the bill formerly known as USICA, which is a grab-bag of special interest provisions cobbled together into a franken-bill.

There is a lot of chaff to separate from the wheat of this bill, but I believe that we can come to smart, consensus policy through the conference. The Science Committee worked together to pass strong bipartisan legislation and I think our process, as well as our end result, should serve as a model moving forward. 

I’m looking forward to getting to work and paring down these bills to the smart policies we need. It’s urgent that we act now. Democratic leadership delayed this legislation for nine months. I assure you that the Chinese Communist Party isn’t doing the same. So let’s stop playing politics with something so important.

I urge my colleagues to pass this motion, and I reserve the balance of my time.” 

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