of Rep. Nick Smith (R-MI).
Hearing: House Basic Research Subcommittee.
Re: HR 2086, The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act.
Date: July 14, 1999.
Source: House Science Committee.
OPENING STATEMENT OF NICK SMITH
SUBCOMMITTEE ON BASIC RESEARCH
The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act
July 14, 1999
Good afternoon, and welcome to our hearing on "The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act." H.R. 2086, a bill that I am pleased to cosponsor, was introduced by my good friend and colleague, the Chairman of the Science Committee, James Sensenbrenner on June 9. To date, it has attracted 30 cosponsors and the support of the business and academic communities.
Information technology research has been instrumental in bringing about the Information Revolution, which some have compared to the Industrial Revolution in its size and scope. This revolution has spawned new businesses, created millions of good, high-paying jobs, advanced the sciences, and improved our health and welfare.
However, as the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee recently noted, "the current boom in information technology is built on basic research in computer science carried out more than a decade ago. There is an urgent need to replenish the knowledge base." The Advisory Committee advocated a five-year initiative to boost basic-research funding significantly and help maintain the Nation’s lead in this critical area.
H.R. 2086 was designed to carry through on PITAC’s recommendations. Overall, the bill authorizes a total of nearly $4.8 billion over five years for the agencies under the Science Committee’s jurisdiction. Its centerpiece is the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development program, which includes authorizations for individual or small-team grants; large grants of up to $1 million for long-term basic research; information technology research centers; terascale computing hardware; and for-credit university internship programs for research at private companies. In addition, the bill provides authorizations for the existing High Performance Computing and Communications programs and the completion of the Next Generation Internet program.
Other aspects of the bill—including the provisions dealing with encryption technologies and permanent extension of the R&D tax credit—were discussed in an earlier hearing of the Subcommittee on Technology. Though not the subjects of this hearing, each of these provisions is an important part of the overall bill. Extending the R&D tax credit is particularly important to promoting greater private sector R&D.
Since its introduction, the Networking and Information Technology R&D Act has garnered widespread support. The Technology Network, the Computing Research Association, and the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee are just a few of the prominent organizations that have endorsed the bill. And without objection, I would like to include into the record letters of support from these and other organizations.
In today’s fast-paced science and technology environment, resting on our past successes is not an option. H.R. 2086 will help ensure that America stays at the cutting-edge of new information technologies that will stimulate economic growth, improve our lives, and push forward the frontiers of science.
We have an excellent panel today, and I look forward to an interesting discussion. Thank you.