Lucas: “Regrettably, I Will Not Be Casting My Vote for the CHIPS and Science Act Today”

Jul 28, 2022
Press

Washington, DC – Today, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) released a statement on the CHIPS and Science Act.

“This is one of those occasions that, as a statesman and responsible Member of Congress, I have to put aside my own pride in the Science Committee’s work and cast a vote that represents the best interests of Americans and – particularly – the good people of the Third District of Oklahoma,” Lucas said. “So, regrettably, I will not be casting my vote for the CHIPS and Science Act today.”

Read Ranking Member Lucas’ Full Floor Statement: 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just 24 hours ago, I expected my remarks on the CHIPS and Science Act to be very different. 

I have worked on this bill for more than three years. When I first took leadership of the House Science Committee as Ranking Member in 2019, developing legislation to strengthen American science and technology was my highest priority. 

After extensive work, in January of 2020 I introduced a comprehensive bill that created a long-term strategy for investment in basic research and infrastructure to protect the economic and national security of the United States.

Our Committee’s Chairwoman, Eddie Bernice Johnson, shared my desire to refocus, revitalize, and reinvest in American science. And so we worked together for two years, gathering extensive stakeholder feedback and technical advice, while holding multiple hearings with expert witnesses to chart a path forward. 

This has been an exemplary bipartisan process. Chairwoman Johnson and her staff have put in countless hours of work with my staff to find strong consensus policies to support federal R&D. I’d like to thank the Chairwoman for her partnership and leadership, and her staff for their diligence. 

I also want to thank my Committee staff members who have put in long hours and hard work to craft what I believe could be transformational science policy. I’d particularly like to thank Jennifer Wickre, who led this process for us from the very beginning. 

The Science Committee’s efforts over the past few years, and the bipartisan legislation we produced, is truly an incredible example of what we can achieve when we work together as responsible legislators in regular order. Unfortunately, not everyone shares our commitment to that process.  

Mr. Speaker, I was frustrated last year when Democratic leadership put off conferencing our competitiveness legislation with our colleagues across the Hill in favor of focusing on the doomed Build Back Better Act. 

I was frustrated when the proposed funding for semiconductor manufacturing jumped from $24 billion to $52 billion with no explanation. I was frustrated when–after finally starting on conference negotiations–the other body tied our research policy to reconciliation. 

I was frustrated when negotiations were shut down, and I was even more frustrated when the House was shut out of discussions once they picked back up. So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am frankly disgusted by the developments over the past 24 hours. 

House Republicans have been working in good faith this entire time to come to consensus legislation that can be passed by both chambers. But time and time again we’ve been thwarted as Democratic leadership has moved the goalposts, shut down the process, and chosen their divisive, partisan policies over a smart bipartisan bill that would benefit our country for generations. 

I understand why people on my side of the room are furious. I share those concerns. And I’ve been around here long enough to know that this is not the way to do things. 

For better or for worse – and it’s very clearly for the worse – the CHIPS and Science Act has been irrevocably tied to a massive tax hike and spending spree in reconciliation. The decisions on how to pursue scientific policy are out of the hands of this Committee and, at this point, practically out of the hands of this Chamber. 

Mr. Speaker, I remain incredibly proud of the good work we’ve done to strategically strengthen American research and development. And yet, I cannot ignore that fact that the immense tax hikes and irresponsible spending in the expanded reconciliation package change the calculus when it comes to supporting spending bills–particularly a bill that has become tied to reconciliation. 

This is one of those occasions that, as a statesman and responsible Member of Congress, I have to put aside my own pride in the Science Committee’s work and cast a vote that represents the best interests of Americans and – particularly – the good people of the Third District of Oklahoma. 

So, regrettably, I will not be casting my vote for the CHIPS and Science Act today. I want to emphasize that this is in no way a reflection of my feelings about the transformational research policies in this bill. 

I’m grateful to Chairwoman Johnson for working with me every step of the way to create strategic, bipartisan, forward-thinking policy. And I just wish that other legislators in both Chambers would follow our example instead of forcing indefensible votes like they have today. 

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.  

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