On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I am writing to express our support for the National Science Foundation for the Future Act, H.R. 2225. The bill creates a new National Directorate for Science and Engineering Solutions tasked with increasing the diversity of NSF stakeholders and ensuring that the programmatic work of the Directorate and Foundation incorporates a worker perspective through participation by labor organizations. H.R. 2225 represents a much needed new approach to US science and innovation policy.
At its core, the National Science Foundation (NSF) exists to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.” But for too long, the NSF has had an exclusive group of stakeholders. H.R. 2225 makes significant strides to “address major societal challenges and sustain United States leadership in innovation” by seeking to broaden and diversify participation in NSF at the Directorate level and in a variety of NSF funded projects.
The inclusion of labor organizations and other new stakeholders at the Directorate level and throughout NSF’s technical education and training programs is a significant and welcome change that will enhance NSF’s ability to tackle pressing social issues like inequality, and the impacts of automation and other technologies on workers. Adding labor organizations as a key stakeholder in NSF programming is historic, and it is an important element in a comprehensive new strategy for US science and innovation policy.
H.R. 2225 makes important improvements that will allow the scientific enterprise of the United States to incorporate a diversity of voices in its work and increase its ability to meet the challenges of our time. Along with the reauthorization of the DOE Office of Science, and the expansion of Manufacturing USA and NIST MEP, it forms a foundation for basic and applied science that better reflects the needs of all of our citizens. We look forward to working with the Committee and the Congress to pass H.R. 2225 and a complete package of bills that will achieve these goals.
Director, Government Affairs