House Science panel advances National Quantum Initiative reauthorization

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology passed the legislation Wednesday. It goes next to the full chamber.
(Getty Images)

A bipartisan bill to reauthorize the National Quantum Initiative was unanimously approved Wednesday by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. 

The 36-0 vote sent the bill (H.R. 6213), co-sponsored by Science Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and ranking member Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., to the House floor. The National Quantum Initiative, which was aimed at bolstering quantum research, expired Sept. 30. The reauthorization, the sponsors say, would build off the accomplishments of the 2018 law in an effort to ensure U.S. competitiveness against China and Russia.

“As China and Russia are actively making notable investments in quantum systems, we must maintain our momentum to secure our leadership position in this revolutionary field, and this bill does just that,” Lucas said in a statement after the markup.

Despite the 2018 legislation establishing the National Quantum Initiative as a 10-year program, its scientific activities were authorized for only five years, according to a June report from the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee. That panel recommended continued and expanded support for the program beyond its original sunset in 2028. 


At a previous markup of the bill in November, the committee adopted 19 amendments, all of which were approved by voice vote. 

Those amendments included one from Rep. Max Miller, R-Ohio, to add language directing agencies to consider the use of AI and machine learning in quantum science, engineering and technology, and how quantum might be used to advance AI and other emerging technologies.

The committee also agreed to adopt an amendment that directs the National Science and Technology Council’s Subcommittee on Quantum Information Science to “identify potential use cases with respect to which quantum computing could advance the missions of participating agencies, including through on-premises, cloud-based, hybrid, or networked approaches.” That amendment was offered by Reps. Deborah Ross, D-N.C., and Jay Obernolte, R-Calif.

Several amendments specifically expanded resources for the National Science Foundation, including two amendments for awards the agency would offer for quantum research. Those amendments were offered by Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) and Reps. Andrea Salinas, D-Ore., and Jim Baird, R-Ind., respectively. Another amendment from Reps. Obernolte and Haley Stevens, D-Mich., would strengthen NSF’s quantum testbed activities.

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