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Conference Report on H.R. 2272, Ameria Competes Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 2272, AMERICA COMPETES ACT -- (House of Representatives - August 02, 2007)


Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the 21st Century Competitiveness Act of 2007. Taking most of its content from the National Academies Report ``Rising Above the Gathering Storm,'' H.R. 2272 is the compilation of an ambitious legislative portfolio that will fulfill the Innovation Agenda. I was proud to help craft the Innovation Agenda, on which our nation is dependent for its future prosperity, and to serve on the conference committee of H.R. 2272.

As a scientist and educator, I have had the opportunity to work at several stages of our nation's science research pipeline. This bill contains sound strategies for addressing our lagging competitiveness at every stage of this pipeline, from K-12 education to research and development. Such a comprehensive approach is badly needed. H.R. 2272 creates programs for training teachers and for encouraging students to enter into fields where there is national need. It sets us on a necessary path to doubling our investment in the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. To ensure we are harnessing all available talent, this bill encourages underrepresented students to enter science and technology. It ensures that we do not lose talent at the early career bottleneck that follows completion of a terminal research-based degree.

I am also pleased that the two initiatives that I have championed in the House of Representatives have made it into the conference report. The first is the Foreign Language Partnership, which is a competitive grant program to enable institutions of higher education and local educational agencies working in partnership to establish articulated programs of study in critical foreign languages so that students from the elementary through postsecondary level can advance their knowledge successfully and achieve higher levels of proficiency in a critical foreign language.

The second is State P-16 Councils--that is, primary school through college. The bill authorizes the Secretary of Education to award competitive grants to states to promote better alignment of elementary and secondary education with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in academic credit-bearing coursework in institutions of higher education, in the 21st century workforce.

This bill will make us not only successful, but also a nation more worthy of success. It gives students with financial need better access to science and technology careers, empowering them to improve their lives and contribute to society. It makes necessary investments in energy research that will give our children a world we are proud for them to inherit.

I encourage my colleagues to support this resolution. Without its reforms, we will continue to lose our global lead in science, technology, and quality of life.


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