Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith today voted for legislation to substantially increase research in long-term information technology and networking.

H.R. 2086, the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act, provides a 92 percent increase in information technology funding over the next five years for the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Energy Department, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Our predecessors made a wise decision to invest in science and technology research,” Smith said. “To succeed in the New Economy, we must ensure that we have the best science and technology in the world, and that all our citizens are empowered to take advantage of it. This bill will help ensure the economy continues to grow, providing opportunity to as many people as possible.”

The measure authorizes a total of $3 billion for the National Science Foundation from 2000 to 2004. This funding would include grants for research on high-end computing, software, the social and economic consequences of information technology, network stability, security, and privacy.

Education is also prioritized in the legislation. The bill also provides $95 million for colleges and universities to establish internship programs in information technology research with private sector companies, and authorizes $56 million for NSF to establish a research program to develop and analyze information technology applications for elementary and secondary education.

“The education piece of this bill is very important,” Smith explained. “We need to improve all students’ computer literacy, from elementary school to universities.”

Ed Lazowska, Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington was in Washington D.C. today to lend his support to the bill.