09.16.20

Gardner, Markey, Tillis, and Peters Applaud Senate Committee Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Relief for Research Workforce and Institutions

Leaders in Colorado also applaud committee passage of the RISE Act

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Gary Peters (D-MI) applauded the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s passage of the Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act, their bipartisan legislation to provide $26 billion to U.S. researchers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gardner, Markey, Tillis, and Peters introduced the RISE Act in July to provide necessary relief to preserve the current scientific workforce and ensure that the United States is prepared to continue our global scientific leadership once this crisis ends.

Although coronavirus-related research is a current federal government priority, most other research has slowed or stopped due to closures of campuses and laboratories. The people who comprise the research workforce – graduate students, postdocs, principal investigators, and technical support staff – face financial and other hardships from the disruption of their research activities. More than 300 organizations have endorsed the RISE Act, including the Association of American Universities, The American Council on Education, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“This bipartisan legislation will help ensure that the United States remains a global leader in scientific research and development, and I’m proud that it passed the Senate Commerce Committee,” said Senator Gardner. “America is at its best when it empowers our innovators with the tools they need to keep our country competitive, and research institutions in Colorado have faced serious challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I will continue to work with my colleagues to provide additional support for our nation’s scientific research and development initiatives.”

“America’s economy and health needs our research enterprise and the researchers who contribute to it every day,” said Senator Markey. “I am proud the RISE Act has received bipartisan support from the Commerce Committee, and I will keep fighting for Congress to pass this critical relief for our research workforce.”

“Our world-class medical researchers, scientists, research institutions and labs in North Carolina and across the United States continue to work tirelessly to improve the health and economic growth of the country,” said Senator Tillis. “The bipartisan support for the RISE Act from the Commerce Committee is an important step in the right direction and I will continue to fight for the passage of the bill to ensure that the medical and scientific research community can resume operations, restore progress to pre-pandemic levels, and deliver innovative solutions moving forward.”

“I’m proud to support the cutting-edge research being conducted at Michigan institutions. We must ensure that our nation can remain a global leader in research and innovation – both during and after this pandemic,” said Senator Peters. “This legislation will ensure the scientific and medical personnel leading groundbreaking innovations have the resources they need to continue their work and support Michigan’s economy.”

“We appreciate Senator Gardner’s strong support of pandemic relief for university researchers, including the next generation of scientists and engineers,” said University of Colorado President Mark Kennedy. “The pandemic has adversely impacted the career trajectories of millions of graduate students and postdocs, who, without additional support, may leave research altogether. The Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act authorizes critical assistance for all disciplines of science – from biomedicine to cutting-edge aerospace, defense research to climate and energy solutions – and will ensure CU faculty and student researchers across all four campuses can continue critical projects and career development. University research is vital to keeping the U.S. at the forefront of discovery and innovation.”

“We applaud Senator Gardner and our federal officials from Colorado for their time and effort introducing the RISE Act,” said President and CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber Jeff Keener. “This much needed and worthy legislation authorizes billions in funding to U.S. researchers who have been impacted by the pandemic. We’re also pleased our partners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently announced their support for this important bill.”

“The Boulder Chamber is proud to stand with the research community to advocate for the Research Investment to Spark the Economy Act (RISE Act),” said Boulder Chamber President and CEO John Tayer. “Federally funded research facilities contribute almost $3 billion to the state's economy annually and support more than 17,000 jobs. Funding research is a critical investment in our recovery from the current crisis and drives long-term vitality for our innovation economy.”

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.