Chairman Renews Effort to Make U.S. Most Innovative, Well-Educated Country in the World
Renewing his effort to strengthen global competitiveness and improve math and science education, House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) today re-introduced several pieces of legislation he authored in the 109th Congress, and vowed to make these bills among the first the Committee considers in the 110th Congress.
"Innovation and competitiveness are just buzzwords until Congress takes action to make them a reality," said Chairman Gordon. "These bills are familiar and their provisions are widely acknowledged. They serve to enact measures to strengthen the standing in the global economy, make sure our kids are prepared for the careers of the future and usher in bold changes to this country’s approach to energy research."
Last Congress, Gordon led the House in introducing an innovation package of legislation built upon the recommendations of the widely acknowledged Rising Above the Gathering Storm report issued by the National Academy of Sciences. Chairman Gordon’s innovation package in the 110th Congress consists of: H.R. 362, H.R. 363 and H.R. 364.
The legislative package will serve as the vehicle for a broader discussion of these issues by the Committee. Chairman Gordon intends to move all three bills through the Committee early this year and send them on to the full House for consideration. This package will serve as a cornerstone of the Democrats’ Competitiveness and Innovation Agenda.
"10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds" Science and Math Scholarship Act (H.R. 362) - among other initiatives - will increase the number of U.S. math and science teachers by 10,000 annually by providing scholarships to science, math and engineering students who commit to becoming science or math teachers at elementary and secondary schools upon completion of their degrees. [section-by-section]
Sowing the Seeds Through Science and Engineering Research Act (H.R. 363) authorizes a 10% funding increase per year for basic research in the physical sciences at key federal agencies; administers awards to outstanding early-career researchers in academia and in nonprofit research organizations; provides graduate research assistantships in areas of national need; and establishes a national coordination office to prioritize university and national research infrastructure needs. [section-by-section]
Versions of both H.R. 362 and H.R. 363 passed the full Committee in June of last year.
A third bill in the innovation package introduced today is the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) Act (H.R. 364). Charged with the mission of decreasing U.S. dependence on oil through clean energy technologies, ARPA-E will provide aggressive funding for innovative, out-of-the-box research projects carried out by industry, universities and consortia of groups, including federal laboratories. This program will give the best and brightest science and technology experts unprecedented flexibility and resources to develop new technologies through high-risk, high-return research addressing the nation's most pressing energy problems. [section-by-section]
Chairman Gordon introduced an additional bill today. This legislation was approved by the full House and Senate in the 109th Congress, but stopped short of completing House consideration a second time after minor changes were incorporated by the Senate. H.R. 365, the Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act of 2007 [section-by-section], assists state and local authorities in cleaning up the scourge of methamphetamine use and production in local communities.
Chairman Gordon expects the Committee to meet in the coming weeks to formally organize and assemble subcommittees. The first order of legislative business will likely be a mark-up session aimed at clearing some of the more narrow bills slated for early action on the House floor.