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American Chemical Society Presents Congress with Agenda of Critical, Unfinished Science Legislation
Now that Congress has returned from recess, the American Chemical Society (ACS) identified key areas of unfinished science legislation that if implemented would greatly benefit the U.S. economy, prepare youth for high-paying jobs and ensure America remains globally competitive.
This legislation includes:
America COMPETES Act: Originally passed in 2007, reauthorized in 2010 and allowed to expire in 2013, this legislation has supported the science, technology and innovation enterprise that underpins U.S. economic growth and job creation. COMPETES funded basic scientific research through the federal agencies, fueled America’s research universities, developed discoveries and technological advances, and promoted important new innovations. COMPETES also strengthened a wide range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs, from K-12 through graduate education. ACS endorsed H.R. 5031, the STEM Education Act, as it will broaden the definition of STEM subjects to include computer science and increased access to NSF teacher fellowships and programs. ACS also supports aspects of FIRST Act, especially providing input to federal plans on STEM issues. As sustained and predictable support for science, engineering and technology is essential for a healthy U.S. economy, ACS feels it is critical to reauthorize COMPETES in 2014.
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act: ACS believes strongly that Congress should adopt as its sound energy policies would stimulate innovation and provide a healthier environment. These bills (H.R. 1616; S. 761) would rewrite national building codes, which are voluntary standards used by municipalities and states, to foster greater energy savings. Education programs would train workers in energy-efficient building design and installation of energy-efficient technologies. The bill provides incentives for using highly efficient motors and transformers and sets goals for the federal government — the single largest energy consumer.
The Critical Minerals Policy Act: This legislation (S. 1600; H.R. 1022) would ensure the United States has supplies of critical materials needed to produce 21st-century technologies such as high-quality batteries, wind turbines, fluorescent lights, smart phones and powerful magnets. These proposals will boost research and development into extraction, processing, alternatives and recycling of critical materials while facilitating a better understanding of domestic resources for these important elements. Critical materials have been primarily mined in other nations. S. 1600 would prioritize discovery and extraction efforts in the U.S., establish recycling programs and identify alternative materials so the U.S. is not dependent on foreign supplies.
The Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit: The R&D Tax Credit is a general business tax credit for companies that incur expenses as they conduct research and develop new products and processes. Introduced as part of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, the credit has been allowed to expire eight times and been extended 14 times. The current extension expired on Dec. 31, 2013. Most other nations have a permanent R&D tax credit. ACS believes strongly that the U.S. needs a permanent R&D tax credit in order to be globally competitive.
The Higher Education ACT (HEA): Three smaller bills addressing different aspects of the Higher Education Act have all had bipartisan congressional support: H.R. 4948, Strengthening Transparence in Higher Education Act; H.R. 4984, Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act; and H.R. 3136, Advancing Competency Based Education Demonstration Project Act.
ACS holds formal policy positions on U.S. Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Science and Technology in the FY2015 Budget, the U.S. Business Climate, Science Education Policy and Energy Policy.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.