First, the good news. Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5029, the International Science and Technology
Cooperation Act. In terms of spending, it was a modest bill. If it is signed into law, it will barely result in any increase in federal government spending at all.
Still, the impact of H.R. 5029 could be substantial. It is designed to create an organization that focuses on identifying and supporting channels of international scientific cooperation. The active clauses of the legislation read as follows:
The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy shall establish a body under the National Science and
Technology Council with the responsibility to identify and coordinate international science and technology cooperation that can strengthen the United States science and technology enterprise, improve economic and national security, and support United States foreign policy goals.
(b) NSTC Body Leadership.–The body established under subsection (a) shall be co-chaired by senior level officials from the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of State.
(c) Responsibilities.–The body established under subsection (a) shall–
(1) coordinate interagency international science and technology cooperative research and training activities and partnerships supported or managed by Federal agencies and work with other National Science and Technology Council committees to help plan and coordinate the international component of national science and technology priorities;
(2) establish Federal priorities and policies for aligning, as appropriate, international science and technology cooperative research and training activities and partnerships supported or managed by Federal agencies with the foreign policy goals of the United States;
(3) identify opportunities for new international science and technology cooperative research and training partnerships that advance both the science and technology and the foreign policy priorities of the United States;
(4) in carrying out paragraph (3), solicit input and recommendations from non-Federal science and technology stakeholders, including universities, scientific and professional societies, industry, and relevant organizations and institutions; and
(5) identify broad issues that influence the ability of United States scientists and engineers to collaborate with foreign counterparts, including barriers to collaboration and access to scientific information.
That, and deliver reports on its work to Congress, is all that the small government committee created by H.R. 5029 would do. It’s not big government spending. It’s not ideologically-driven. Who could have a problem with this legislation?
41 members of Congress, that’s who. The following are the members of the all-Republican Scientific Ignorance Caucus, which they formed by coming together to vote against the International Science and Technology Cooperation Act:
Justin Amash, Dan Benishek, Mo Brooks, Paul Broun, Michael Burgess, Steve Chabot, Doug Collins, Ron DeSantis, Sean Duffy, Jeff Duncan, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Trey Gowdy, Tom Graves, Richard Hudson, Bill Huizenga, Walter Jones, Jim Jordan, Raul Labrador, Doug LaMalfa, Tom Massie, Tom McClintock, Candice Miller, Mick Mulvaney, Tim Murphy, Steve Pearce, Scott Perry, Ted Poe, Reid Ribble, Tom Rice, Tom Rooney, Keith Rothfus, Matt Salmon, Jim Sensenbrenner, Bill Shuster, Steve Stockman, Randy Weber, Brad Wenstrup, Lynn Westmoreland Rob Woodall, Ted Yoho.