Rep. Fattah Tours Oak Ridge National Laboratory - His Sixth National Lab Oversight Trip -- After Neuroscience Address

Dec 10, 2012, 17:08 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA-02), a leading advocate for national laboratories and Federally sponsored neuroscience research, is touring Oak Ridge National Laboratory today and tomorrow – his sixth on-site, hands-on national lab oversight visit in the past two years.

The tour at Oak Ridge, Tenn., follows Fattah's speech earlier today on Federal progress and prospects for neuroscience research, delivered to 100 doctors and scientists taking part in the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair 9th annual retreat in suburban Philadelphia.

Championing both neuroscience research and Federal science labs are top Congressional agenda items for Fattah, the senior Democratic appropriator on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies.

Fattah, during his address to the neuroscientists at the Penn conference, said President Obama's science-centered priorities offer a reason for optimism on funding, but he cautioned it won't be easy.

"We have every reason to be hopeful," Fattah said, but added, "The United States has been treading water. We need to redouble our efforts and invest more in basic science. We are not going to remain global leaders on the cheap. We cannot argue that we can have a leadership role in the world and none of us is going to have to pay for it."

In recent weeks Fattah, has introduced House Resolution 815 declaring 2013 the "Year of the Federal Lab," to highlight the critical U.S. investment in research through Federal laboratories, and has co-founded the bipartisan House Science and National Labs Caucus.

At Oak Ridge, Fattah is touring both nuclear and non-nuclear facilities. He will see the Titan, which has just been named the fastest supercomputer in the world – reclaiming world leadership from China. He will also tour the lab's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, one of several Oak Ridge facilities conducting research for manufacturing innovation applicable in the private sector, and its BioEnergy Center.

In the past two years, Fattah has made official visits to NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif.; the Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs in New Mexico and the Argonne and Fermi National Labs in the Chicago area. 

"I have visited our national energy laboratories and advocated for their funding because of the critical role they perform in jump-starting tomorrow's economy," Fattah said. "All of our Federally-funded labs, and there are more than 100 of them, deserve more credit and attention for their important role in keeping the United States as the world's economic and innovation leader.

At the Penn Brain Injury Retreat, at the Radnor Hotel in St. Davids PA, Fattah thanked the scientists and practitioners for the critical work they are undertaking.

He said that from football players to kids on the playground to soldiers on the battlefield, "Traumatic brain injury is in the forefront of our minds as a country… I commend you for your intellectual investment. Hopefully our nation will meet you halfway in terms of financial resources."

Fattah has spotlighted brain science by winning bipartisan Congressional approval last year to raise the national priority of neuroscience and to coordinate multi-agency research in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, via the Interagency Working Group on Neuroscience.

His Fattah Neuroscience Initiative seeks major progress in understanding the human brain by intensifying, in a collaborative fashion, Federal research efforts across brain disease, disorder, injury, cognition and development. The initiative aims to coordinate Federal research across agencies and draw upon public-private partnerships including pharmaceuticals, and the world of academia.

In the past 13 months Fattah has visited more than a dozen neuroscience facilities from Los Angeles to Cambridge, Mass., including hospital and university sites in Philadelphia, a major center of neuroscience research and treatment.

Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) •

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah