ACS joins Energy Sciences Coalition letter to Budget Committee Leadership
March 8, 2021
Dear Chairman Sanders, Chairman Yarmuth, Ranking Member Graham, and Ranking Member Smith,
As you begin consideration of a funding allocation to guide discretionary spending for fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations, the Energy Sciences Coalition (ESC) urges you to take into account funding needed to support the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science. ESC urges Congress to appropriate at least $7.7 billion in FY 2022 for DOE Office of Science, an increase of 9.6 percent above FY 2021.
Bold new investments in fundamental research are needed to bolster the economy, stay ahead of international competition, maintain U.S. scientific and technological leadership, and create American jobs of the future in key energy sectors as well as new technology areas such as high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and quantum information science. ESC’s FY 2022 funding recommendation is needed to maintain a funding trajectory that ensures continued support for groundbreaking scientific discoveries, building and operating world-class scientific facilities, helping advance energy technologies needed for the nation to meet net-zero carbon emissions economy wide, developing Industries of the Future and emerging technologies, and maintaining the highly skilled science and technology workforce that is essential for the United States to compete globally.
As the United States recovers from the pandemic and you look for opportunities to jumpstart the economy, ESC strongly encourages you to also include an investment in Office of Science research infrastructure as part of any economic recovery or infrastructure bill. ESC recommends at least $10 billion to ensure our nation's continued scientific and economic competitiveness, create thousands of high-quality, well-paying construction jobs, and attract the best and brightest scientists to national service. If budget reconciliation is used to advance an infrastructure package, ESC urges you to include both the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee—the two authorizing committees of jurisdiction for DOE—in reconciliation instructions to advance funding recommendations for the Office of Science.
An investment in DOE Office of Science, shovel-ready research infrastructure at national laboratories and university research facilities would immediately create construction jobs and stimulate the economy, as well as enable future scientific breakthroughs and discoveries vital to continuing American economic prosperity and national security. This includes the construction of world-class user facilities and instruments that currently support 36,000 researchers from academia, industry and federal agencies; upgrades to and replacement of increasingly obsolete and unreliable support infrastructure to address growing deferred maintenance issues at DOE national laboratories; and expanded research initiatives to attract the best and brightest scientists and engineers to critical fields of science, including industries of the future, such as quantum information science, artificial intelligence, next-generation high performance computing, advanced communications networks, future energy technologies and biotechnology and bioengineering.
The U.S. faces increasing competition from our counterparts in Europe and Asia, as they invest heavily to build their own state-of-the-art facilities to attract the best minds and lead the world in science and technology. An additional infrastructure investment would accelerate the construction of world-class facilities and scientific instruments to stay ahead of this competition. It would also ensure that the U.S. remains the most attractive country in the world for scientists and researchers to come in order to advance scientific discovery and innovation. With a strong record of completing major construction projects on time and on budget, the Office of Science has been an excellent steward of taxpayer dollars.
The DOE Office of Science will also continue to play an important role in the COVID-19 response as well as future pandemics. The DOE Office of Science established multi-disciplinary teams from all 17 national labs to address critical needs, such as improving capabilities for and ensuring effective detection of infection; expediting discovery of therapeutic drugs, including antibodies and antivirals, to complement vaccine development; providing epidemiological and logistical support to Federal, state and local decision-makers to more accurately forecast disease transmission; addressing supply chain bottlenecks for PPE, test kits, and ventilators; and understanding the spread of the virus in buildings and public spaces to assist in reopening the economy. Having demonstrated significant impact, robust annual funding as well as research infrastructure investments will help DOE Office of Science maintain capabilities to respond to COVID-19 and future biological threats.
The United States must maintain its leadership in science, technology and innovation, and the DOE Office of Science plays a pivotal and leading role in addressing this country’s energy, national security, and environmental challenges. We look forward to working with you in advancing the critical missions of the DOE Office of Science.