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Cantwell Calls for Comprehensive Approach to Keeping America Competitive

Location: Washington, DC

Cantwell Calls for Comprehensive Approach to Keeping America Competitive

Legislation would create jobs, invest in alternative fuels, and ensure that United States maintains competitive edge in science and technology

Thursday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined a bipartisan coalition of senators calling for increased investment in research, development, and education to help America maintain its competitive edge. Legislation cosponsored by Cantwell would strengthen our nation's commitment to research, improve math and science education, and increase America's talent pool through higher education investments and incentives for innovation.

"We need an aggressive national strategy that invests in the industries of the future, boosts math and science education, and creates good, family-wage jobs right here in the Pacific Northwest," said Cantwell, a member of the Senate Energy, Commerce, and Small Business Committees. "Keeping America competitive is a top priority. Real investments in our children, our economy, and cutting-edge technologies will help keep America at the forefront of innovation."

The Protecting America's Competitive Edge (PACE) Acts consist of three bills—one focusing on education, another on energy, and a third on tax incentives—representing a comprehensive and coordinated federal policy aimed at fostering innovation and creating high-quality jobs for Americans.

"Reliable energy, affordable broadband access, and aggressive incentives for research and development are all cornerstones of vibrant economy in the 21st century," said Cantwell. "Federal investments will keep our economy growing and help us lead the way on science and technology."

Based on recommendations made by the National Academies, at the request of Congress, the bills would enhance science and technology enterprise and strengthen America's ability to compete and prosper in the global community. The report released by the Academies highlights the importance of high-quality jobs, affordable broadband access, and clean, affordable, and reliable energy. It also recommends steps to bolster science and math education, enhance cutting-edge research, and create high-paying innovation-based jobs.

Highlights of the PACE Acts include:

+ Scholarships and fellowships for future scientists: Each year, up to 25,000 bright young Americans would receive a 4-year competitive scholarship to earn a bachelor's degree in science, engineering, or math. Up to 5,000 students who have already earned their bachelor's degree would compete to receive graduate research fellowships to cover education and living costs.

+ Scholarships for future math and science teachers, and training programs for current math and science teachers: Each year, up to 10,000 qualified students would receive a 4-year scholarship to earn a bachelor's degree in science, engineering, or math, while concurrently earning teacher certification. In exchange for these scholarships, each recipient would serve for at least four years as a math or science teacher.

+ Increases basic research spending by up to 10 percent each year for seven years at several federal agencies and national laboratories, including the Pacific Northwest lab in Tri Cities.

+ Establishes a new research agency within the Department of Energy tasked with developing transformational energy technologies that bridge the gap between scientific discovery and new energy innovations.

+ Doubles the Research and Development tax credit and makes it permanent.

Cantwell has long supported tax credits for research and development as well as enhanced math and science education. In 2004, Cantwell championed a successful extension of the research and development tax credit and has since pushed for making the credit permanent. As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, she has also fought to protect and strengthen small businesses across the state and has advocated important tax reform to help small businesses thrive. Cantwell continues to support essential investment and entrepreneurship that have created high-paying jobs and made Washington state an economic leader.

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