March 05, 2021

Neguse, Perlmutter Announce Introduction of Bill to Modernize Federal Labs, Invest in Science

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Neguse and Congressman Ed Perlmutter announced the introduction of The Federal Labs Modernization Act, legislation which would prioritize the investment in and modernization of federal labs, several of which are located within Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.

This bill requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on the status of federal labs infrastructure every two years. Additionally, it amends the America COMPETES Act which calls for the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director to report to Congress on the status of the nation’s scientific infrastructure and the funding needed to adequately support it. The Federal Labs Modernization Act enhances the reporting requirements for the OSTP Director, a fundamental measure to ensure labs have modern resources and infrastructure. 

“It is pertinent that we ensure our federal labs are well funded and supported to ensure federal scientists can continue to produce the groundbreaking research that will lead to renewable energy solutions, resiliency, preservation of our ecosystems, and so much more,” says Congressman Joe Neguse. “Colorado’s 2nd congressional district is home to a plethora of federal labs, and we must make sure they are able to continue their crucial work.”

“Our federal labs are the birthplace of research and innovation, many of which are located here in Colorado,” said Congressman Ed Perlmutter. “We must ensure these labs have the funding and resources they need to carry out their important work, and these reports will allow Congress to better support our labs.”

“The impact and necessity of our federal labs cannot be overstated,” said Dan Powers, Executive Director of CO-LABS, a non-profit consortium of federally-funded research labs, research universities, economic development groups and private-sector technology companies. “The crucial research we all invest in via our taxes has been the foundational source of our innovative economy going back decades, with federal scientists' discoveries launching and advancing industries from food production to space exploration to public health to computing sciences. Our country is facing COVID and other pandemic risks, cybersecurity threats to our utility grids, extreme destructive weather borne of climate change, internet connectivity inequities and many other urgent issues. In the face of massive investments in R&D by other countries around the globe, particularly China, it is a crucial matter for the United States to give our scientists the most up-to-date equipment and facilities to do their work.  The world-class innovative discoveries and knowledge coming out of 300+ national labs across the country is the source of progress for our society. Furthermore, discoveries within our national labs provide the sparks for new, inspiring technologies leading to new companies and jobs. Modernizing our labs is as much an effort of national pragmatism and pride as it is national security.”

Colorado is a crucial center of scientific innovation in the U.S. with over 30 federally funded research labs that make imperative contributions towards environmental protection, economic growth, and public health. Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District alone houses some of the country’s most distinguished research labs, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), USDA Agricultural Research Service, DOI North Central Climate Science Center, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and consortium laboratories at CU Boulder and Colorado State University, among others.

By reporting necessary improvements and providing scientists with sufficient funding, our nation’s labs will have the resources necessary to remain leaders in essential research and scientific innovation.