Pelosi Remarks at ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.  Leader Pelosi highlighted the need to renew our commitment to innovation in science and technology to keep America number one in clean energy research and create jobs.  Below are the Leader’s remarks.

“Thank you very much, Secretary Chu, for your kind remarks and generous introduction.  More importantly, thank you for your great leadership in the fight for a clean energy future, and for your lifetime of work in public, private and academic sectors to advance the cause of scientific achievement and technological innovation, here and around the world.

“It is an honor to be here with my former colleague, former Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Bart Gordon, who never stopped keeping, he never stopped keeping science and innovation at the top of the agenda for us, the Democrats, and the entire Congress in a bipartisan way, and for our nation.  He taught us every day that our description of our agenda should be four words: science, science, science, and science.  Thank you, Bart.

“I want to thank the first-ever Director of ARPA-E, Dr. Arun Majumdar, who came from Lawrence-Livermore, Berkeley,  a bit of pride on that, from California, from the National Laboratory there, for his work, and for his ongoing commitment to the cause of energy innovation.  Thank you, Arun.

“I want to recognize all of you, all of the participants from my home state of California.  Are there any Californians here?  And all of the leaders that you have in small business, manufacturing, academia, and government focused on high-tech and clean technology and energy.

“Your presence here today is a tribute to a basic truth that we’ve all known: ARPA-E can only succeed with strong partnership between public and private sectors.  This has been true for so many successful initiatives in our nation.

“This will put us back in time, when I heard the Secretary reference the moon shot, but part of our inspiration to our innovation agenda in the House, of course being, more than 50 years ago, I saw, and for some of you it may be history, but it was right after we witnessed President John F. Kennedy stand before a joint session of Congress, and the American people, to state his intent, and our nation’s commitment, to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth within ten years.

“He declared that moment a ‘time to take longer strides-time for a new, a great new American enterprise.’  He knew, he said, that ‘we possess all  of the resources and talents necessary’ to meet the goal; ‘all we required would be bold leadership, a clear vision, and a will to act.’

“Hearing the inspiring words of the President, Americans responded, lived up to the call, and saw four astronauts set foot on the surface of the moon before the decade was out.

“Yet, as Americans rallied around this cause, we knew it was about more than a single mission to the moon; it was about a renewed commitment to innovation in science and technology.  It was about strengthening our economy by expanding new initiatives and investing in research.  It was about turning the ideas of students, the ideas of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs into results that reached beyond the space program-creating jobs, bolstering our national security, and forming the foundation of modern communications, computer chips, and the internet.  It was about fulfilling a promise of innovation that would form the backbone of our progress as a people and our prospects as a nation.

“Following in this same tradition today is another great American enterprise: ARPA-E, which we’re all here to celebrate-a key component to keeping America number one in clean energy, research, and innovation.

“The history of ARPA-E, as many of you know, began when Norm Augustine came to testify about ‘Rising Above the Gathering Storm,’ Secretary Chu was part of that enterprise as well.  Spurring from that, we’ve created a Democratic Innovation Agenda, to make it bipartisan as it can–a commitment to competitiveness to keep America number one.  And it, so we have, the gathering storm, how we take that idea, turn it into legislation, turn it into policy, turn it into progress.  Well our first step was with our innovation agenda.  And then continued in the House of Representatives, where an Innovation Agenda was a cornerstone of our economic growth.

“This was legislated in the America COMPETES Act, a bold step to expand cutting-edge research, modernize manufacturing–there are manufacturers here today,–educate students in the STEM fields, and increase opportunity.  Under the leadership, the excellent and strong leadership, of Chairman Bart Gordon, the COMPETES Act came to the floor and won very strong bipartisan support.  In passing this legislation, we laid the foundation for new industries that provide good jobs for our workers; that open new markets for American products; that ensure we continue to rise above the gathering storm.  And thus ARPA-E was created.  Springing from the National Science Foundation report, turned into legislation.

“But, we really weren’t there until we had the money.  And so, when President Obama took office in 2009, with an even greater army of allies in Congress, we upheld our promise to invest in clean energy.  Investing $400 million in ARPA-E through the Recovery Act.  Advancing and expanding ARPA-E with the reauthorization of the COMPETES Act, again, under the leadership of Chairman Gordon, in 2010.  Last year, House and Senate Democrats fought successfully to increase funding for ARPA-E, to ensure that we have the resources we need to compete in high-tech and clean energy.

“Today, our investments in renewable and alternative sources of energy pay off for the American people-translating into good-paying jobs for our workers.  Seventy-five thousand jobs, at least, in wind power.  One hundred thousand jobs in solar power.  To build on this progress for our economy, we must renew energy tax credits so that clean energy jobs stay competitive and renewable energy is made in America.  I tell you that because I feel very proud of, but a sense of responsibility to it, and seeing the opportunity exist as we go forward.  And to enlist your help to make this as bipartisan a mission too, as possible.

“Under President Obama’s leadership, we are already taking critical steps forward to make more energy here at home.  Domestic energy production is at its highest level in nearly a decade, while our reliance on imports has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 20 years.  We are using natural gas to drive our transition to renewables.  It is important to note that we have quadrupled the number of oil rigs operating in the United States, four-times more than three years ago, when President Obama took office.  There are more oil and gas rigs, in the United States, than in the rest of the world combined.  I mention this because it’s important to note, that as we focus on the new technologies and the rest, it is not to say, as the President has said: ‘we’re for all of the above,’ for a strong energy future.  Some of it, we will transition from, when we have all the rest of it in place.  But, no one is against collecting the energy needs of the American people.  And I think the American people deserve a great deal of credit, because they have contributed to the success of our reducing our dependence on foreign oil through their conservation measures.

“But more must be done.  Because energy is a central issue for our economy, for our national security, for manufacturing, and for innovation.

“In his State of the Union Address, President Obama reminded us that ‘innovation is what makes America, what makes America has always been about.  Let me reread that: ‘innovation is what America has always been about.’  The President called for an agenda that builds on initiatives like ARPA-E, and stated clearly that ‘nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy.’  And he promised to ‘double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising.’  I want you all to know how seriously we take the challenge that the President is putting forward.

“Secretary Chu is already fulfilling this commitment, echoing the ‘moon shot’ with his own ‘sun shot’-an initiative to dramatically cut the costs of solar energy by the end of the decade.  Thank you for your Leadership, again, Secretary Chu.

“ARPA-E is central to our effort to ‘Make It In America.’  The cost of energy as a factor of production is a big one, and to the extent that we can reduce those costs, of course, we make our policy more competitive.  So, ARPA-E ensures that we restore our manufacturing, industrial, and technological base so all workers and all families can ‘Make It In America.’  This is one issue our distinguished Democratic Whip, Mr. Hoyer, is constantly saying: ‘Make It In America,’ meaning the manufacturing is here, and that’s what we do in Congress, ‘Make It In America,’ central to that.  For American products to be competitive globally, you know, that we must lower the cost of energy.  American energy equals American jobs.

“We are fulfilling the promise that Democrats nationwide: to reignite the American dream–sort of an energy idea–building the pillars that have always made our economy strong-small businesses, entrepreneurs, and an all-inclusive and thriving middle class.  We all will build ladders of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard, take responsibility, and play by the rules-so everyone can succeed, so that everyone can ‘Make It In America.’

“President Kennedy understood this basic commitment when he implored us to ‘take longer strides.’  He knew this when he went to Rice University in 1962, when he famously said: ‘the vows of this nation can be fulfilled only if we are first, and therefore, we intend to be first.  Our leadership in science and industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves, as well as others, all require us to make this effort.’

“ARPA-E advances this effort.  ARPA-E is about being first-in science and technology, in clean energy, and therefore clean air, in good-paying jobs and industries of tomorrow.  It is about recognizing another fundamental truth: when America’s best minds come together to innovate and put science at the top of the agenda, nothing can stand in the way of America’s success.

“In ARPA-E, our tradition continues, and we remain dedicated to the investments that keep our country strong, that get our economy moving, that secure our place of national leadership across the globe.

“That is our commitment to you.

“Thank you all, for the role that you play in keeping America number one.  Thank you.”

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