Gordon Named to Lead House Conference on Competitiveness and Innovation Legislation
(Washington, DC) Anticipating a culmination later this week of work that he began in the 109th Congress, House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) today said that U.S. students, teachers, businesses and workers stand to benefit when a House and Senate conference committee completes its work on groundbreaking competitiveness and innovation legislation.
Gordon was named the lead House conferee on the panel earlier today. The House and Senate conferees are expected to meet this evening.
“I can’t repeat it often enough - providing high quality jobs for hard working Americans must be our first priority. In order to accomplish that, we must be proactive,” said Chairman Gordon. “This package of legislation is proactive and far-reaching. It puts in place measures designed to invigorate U.S. innovation, which in turns stimulates our economy.”
The conference committee plans quick work to resolve differences between the America Competes Act (S.761), which passed the Senate in April, and the 21st Century Competitiveness Act of 2007 (HR.2272), which passed the House in May.
The resulting conference report – to be known as H.R. 2272, the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act (COMPETES) – will mark the end of a year and a half-long, bipartisan effort led by Members of the Science and Technology Committee to pass a package of competitiveness bills in response to recommendations in the 2005 National Academies report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm.
“I trust that when the conferees get together, we will produce an agreement that follows through on Congress’ commitment to insure U.S. students, teachers, businesses and workers are prepared to continue leading the world in innovation, research and technology – well into the future,” added Gordon.
This conference product will also represent an integral accomplishment of the House Democrats’ Innovation Agenda. The House legislative package going into conference was comprised of bills authored and steered by the House Committee on Science and Technology – H.R. 362, H.R. 363, H.R. 1068, H.R. 1867 and H.R. 1868.
The House legislative package authorized a total of $23.6 billion over fiscal years 2008 – 2010, including $21 billion for research and education programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF), $2.5 billion for the research labs, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and other activities at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), and $96 million for early career awards and teacher professional development programs at the Department of Energy (DOE). An additional $70 million is authorized for these programs at DOE for fiscal years 2011-2012.
Members named as House conferees from the Science and Technology Committee include: Chairman Gordon, Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO), Rep. David Wu (D-OR), Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX), Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX), Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI), Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA). Conferees named from the Education and Labor Committee include: Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), and Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA).