Chairman Serrano Statement at Hearing on STEM Engagement

2019-09-19 09:46

Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY), Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) engagement: 

The subcommittee shall come to order.

I would like to welcome to the subcommittee Dr. Karen Marrongelle, Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation for Education and Human Resources and Michael Kincaid, Associate Administrator for STEM Engagement at NASA.

Both NSF and NASA play important roles within the federal government in advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) efforts to inspire young students to pursue these fields.  These partnerships have provided great educational opportunities for students in the STEM disciplines and have helped maintain American competitiveness and innovation on the world stage.

Notwithstanding Congressional action in providing robust funding for STEM, the Trump Administration persists in trying to eliminate or reduce funding for STEM programs in both NASA and NSF, respectively.  Since January 2017, there has been a consistent effort to undermine the Federal agencies that make the United States the world leader in science and technology. 

For example, over the past three years, NASA’s budget request has not prioritized funding for the STEM engagement account, requesting just $37.3 million in FY 2018 and zero funding for FY 2019 and 2020.  This Committee has rejected these proposals, and has instead provided healthy levels of funding for popular and effective programs such as the Space Grant program, EPSCoR, and MUREP.

In the case of NSF, the Education and Human Resources Directorate has had budget requests with a 14 percent decrease in FY 2018 and 9 percent decrease in FY 2020.  And again, this Committee has filled in the gaps and provided robust funding to continue the STEM mission.

Advancing STEM is about investing in a better tomorrow; it is about educating our young students in fields that will determine the future of billions of people around the world. 

This subcommittee is committed to continue providing the resources necessary to build the workforce of tomorrow, create good-paying jobs at home, and advance scientific progress.  We have been very focused on providing robust funding for STEM initiatives to ensure that young men and women of diverse backgrounds have access to a STEM education, and that our STEM fields fully reflect the great diversity of our Nation.

Thank you once again, Assistant Director Marrongelle and Associate Administrator Kincaid, for joining us today, and I look forward to hearing your testimony.

Now, I would like to recognize at this time my good friend, Mr. Aderholt, for any opening remarks that he may have.

116th Congress