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Public Statements

STEM Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HALL. Mr. Speaker, I commend my good friend from Texas, Chairman Smith, for his leadership on the bill today.

As a member of the Science Committee since first elected in 1980, I've heard repeatedly of talented foreign students who receive advanced degrees from American universities who would like to stay in the United States and put those degrees to work and are simply not permitted to do so. So they return home to their home country and ended up competing with us.

Likewise, I hear from industry, particularly the technology industry, that they have ample jobs to fill, but there are not enough qualified Americans to fill those jobs. If this is true, we want those jobs filled by Americans and are working to improve STEM education in the country. But absent that talent now, and with many of these companies already seeking employees overseas, then it seems to me we should take advantage of the opportunity in front of us and help those foreign students who have received their education in the U.S. remain in the U.S.

I have expressed to the chairman that I remain hopeful that qualified Americans should always fill available jobs first, and I understand provisions are in place to ensure this. I further appreciate his willingness to reach a consensus on broadening institution eligibility. We must remember that a large number of well-respected institutions across the country only grant degrees as high as a masters, and qualified graduates from those universities should also be eligible.

In closing, I support the bill before us today, with the assurance that the chairman will continue to work with the Science Committee and with me as we move forward.

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