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Speaker and High Tech Working Group Chairman Praise President's Plan for Legislative Initiative on Innovation

Location: Washington, DC

February 2, 2006

Washington, DC: Today House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the Republican High Tech Working Group, praised President Bush's inclusion of the American Competitiveness Initiative in his State of the Union Address and announced plans to introduce legislation which includes key components of this important initiative.

Throughout our history, America has stood for innovation. We have pioneered the majority of the technology that we now consider fundamental to our modern lifestyle and it is vitally important to the prosperity of our country.

"Technological innovation is critical to America's success and our continued role as the world's leader," said Hastert. "President Bush's vision moves us closer to preparation for the future. I applaud this initiative and look forward to a healthy debate in the U.S. House of Representatives."

With today's rapid spread of knowledge, competition has sprung up around the globe. Today, foreign companies and foreign-born inventors account for nearly half of all U.S. patents. By 2010, more than 90 percent of all scientists and engineers could be living in Asia. Current 12th grade students perform below the international average on general tests of math and science, and the number of engineering degrees awarded in the U.S. has declined by 20 percent since 1985. This is a major challenge but America must keep pace by ensuring we have a skilled workforce that can compete with any other in the world.

"I was particularly encouraged by the President's call to promote innovation," said Rep. Goodlatte. "A loss of innovative leadership would mean the loss of our position as the world's economic engine, and ultimately an exodus of jobs from our shores. We must ensure this does not happen and so we intend to introduce legislation that will better prepare and develop workers for the global economy and remove government barriers that stifle innovation."

Goodlatte's legislation will promote and expand critical research and development, improve math and science education in order to increase America's talent pool, reduce overly burdensome red tape by creating opportunities for economic growth and innovation, promote health information technology, and end abuse of the legal system.

"It is in America's interest to be the leader of this age of innovation," continued Goodlatte. "Our future depends on it and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to pass this important initiative."

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