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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    Opening Keynote Address

    Opening Keynote Address - The Societal Importance of Federal R&D Investments


    Chaka Fattah

    Chaka Fattah  


    2nd District of Pennsylvania

    United States House of Representatives



    Congressman Chaka Fattah is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. This committee is responsible for setting spending priorities of over $1 trillion in annual discretionary funds.

    Congressman Fattah has been a lifelong advocate for children and working families, and to date more than 25 million individuals have benefitted from Fattah programs and initiatives, including GEAR UP, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, youth mentoring, and STEM education programs.

    Fattah is Ranking Member (senior Democrat) on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS). The CJS Subcommittee oversees close to $51 billion in discretionary spending for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, NASA and the National Science Foundation. Its oversight and funding responsibilities include the FBI, NOAA/National Weather Service, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Fattah serves on two additional subcommittees; Energy and Water Development and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs (MilCon).

    Fattah is Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Urban Caucus, House Science and National Labs Caucus, and Job Corps Caucuses.

    In the 113th Congress, Representative Fattah is focused on five legislative priorities:

    •  Neuroscience and scientific research
    •  Manufacturing
    •  Youth Mentoring
    •  Cooperatives
    •  GEAR UP

    The Fattah Neuroscience Initiative (FNI) is an innovative policy initiative that aims to coordinate Federal research across agencies and draw upon public-private partnerships and the world of academia. The initiative promotes research and discovery across brain cognition, development, disease and injury. Fattah has been the principal sponsor for federal seed money and technical support for manufacturing innovation. He continues to work to add more to the $300 million he has already secured for various programs to expand research and development and grow the manufacturing base through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the National Innovation Marketplace, Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia and the Advanced Manufacturing initiative.

    A Congressional champion for mentoring, Fattah has fought for and won millions of dollars for crime fighting programs administered by the Department of Justice that support mentoring for at-risk youth.

    In the 113th Congress, Fattah will seek greater collaboration between the federal government and youth mentoring organizations and advocate for funding for programs that employ evidence-based practices.

    In 2012, he forged a ground breaking agreement to launch a national mentoring program – the American Innovation and Mentorship Agreement (AIM) in robotics through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The agreement will provide robotics-based mentoring programming at 3,000 Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide by 2015. Congressman Fattah has been working to more than double the national capacity for co-op development and establish the National Cooperative Development Center that will: award grants to nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance for groups attempting to form cooperatives, provide guidance and technical assistance to communities seeking to establish cooperatives, create a revolving loan fund to provide seed capital.

    The Department of Education is building on the success of GEAR UP -- Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs -- with its College Savings Account Research Demonstration Project. Designed to help low-income students and their parents save for college, the test project will allot more than $8.5 million to establish and fund college savings accounts for 10,000 GEAR UP