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Public Statements

H.R. 6429, The STEM Jobs Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, my Republican colleagues this week are attempting to make a case for the importance of education, yet their budget this year slashed funding for education and for basic and applied research, creating barriers for traditional students, returning students and worker training. This is not the approach to ensure our students have the skills they need to match the jobs that are available. And this is not the approach to capitalize on the American ingenuity that will lead to economic growth.

We know that students trained in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), are acquiring the skills to fill and succeed at the jobs of the future. In order to increase American competitiveness, create good paying jobs, and ensure our position on the global stage, we have to invest in education, worker training and research in STEM studies. For years in my position as Co-Chair of the Innovation, Competitiveness and Tax Reform Task Force of the New Democratic Coalition I have called for exactly that--a renewed focus on STEM skills in the workforce.

And not just in our own students, but we must also remove the barriers to success for international students training in STEM studies at U.S. institutions. Instead of sending these highly-skilled international students back to their native countries, where they contribute to the foreign economies we are competing against, let's provide them with visas and let the American economy take advantage of these skills.

There is a real opportunity for these highly trained international students to achieve the American dream and contribute talent, creativity and innovative skills that will help ensure our place in a competitive global economy. And there is an actual opportunity to get something signed into law but we know the real work will have to come next Congress, as there are few days left to get much done this fall.

America's future as a global competitor depends on our ability to come together as leaders and make the hard decisions and smart investments as well as enact the policies that put us on a long-term path to prosperity. We cannot let America's future get bogged down by politics. There is too much at stake.

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