Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 6429, the STEM Jobs Act.
Our Nation should be first in the world in science, technology, engineering and math. I'm pleased that we are in agreement on the urgency of this goal. However, this legislation has two big problems which are highly detrimental to our mutual goal.
The first problem is that this legislation takes unnecessary, unfair steps to reduce legal immigration, such as cutting the Diversity Program. The Diversity Program is one of the few existing pathways for African applicants to enter our Nation legally. Cutting this program will not enhance our Nation's STEM competitiveness.
The second problem is that this legislation allows American employers to pay inferior wages to foreign STEM graduates--forcing American workers to compete on an unlevel playing field.
We can do better than the STEM Jobs Act.
Representative LOFGREN's legislation, the Attracting the Best and Brightest Act, ensures that students who earn advanced STEM degrees in America stay in America and contribute to our Nation's prosperity. It creates a new visa category for applicants with advanced STEM degrees, and importantly, takes steps to protect the wages of Americans--a consideration which absolutely must be taken into account.
The Attracting the Best and Brightest Act does not contain the harmful immigration provisions of the STEM Jobs Act. Rather, it represents a commonsense solution to a very real problem.
I am pleased that Republicans, Democrats, and the Administration all agree we should do more to ensure that our Nation benefits from the talents, skills, and ideas of our advanced STEM graduates. However, the STEM Jobs Act legislation takes the wrong approach, and I regrettably urge my colleagues to oppose it.