WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I rise in support of the America COMPETES Act, which creates jobs in the short-term and builds a strong foundation for prosperity in the long-term. We can accomplish both goals by expanding our support for research and development, so that the United States remains the world’s technological leader.
“This bill establishes innovative technology federal loan guarantees for small- and medium-sized manufacturers. Those loans, which are especially needed at a time when credit is tight, will help our businesses keep pace with a changing economy, increase productivity, and hold their own with overseas competitors. By supporting innovation, this bill will help those businesses save and create jobs.
“It will also promote job growth and innovation on the regional level by creating regional innovation clusters, collections of local businesses that collaborate on emerging technology in similar fields. As Chairman Bart Gordon of the Science and Technology Committee has observed, ‘clusters can strengthen or revive a region’s economy and can advance the work being done in their field by bringing the leaders together to share ideas and build off of one another.’ However, as Mark Muro of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution points out, America ‘lags other nations in fostering these distributed, ‘bottom-up’ systems of business development, innovation, and talent matching. The time has come…for America to make regional industry networks a defining aspect of the nation’s efforts to catalyze the next era of high-quality job creation and growth.’ It’s an encouraging step that this bill does just that.
“In addition, the America COMPETES Act helps ensure that our workforce will meet the challenges of the 21st century economy, by investing in science, technology, engineering, and math education. And it reauthorizes and increases funding for the vital National Science Foundation, which promotes cutting-edge research by funding innovation in fields from computer science, to mathematics, to genomics.
“Mr. Speaker, federal support for research is one of the best investments we can make in our future, and in job-creation to continue our economic recovery. Federally-supported research gave us GPS, the computer mouse, computer-aided design, and the Internet—and there’s no telling the ways in which it might shape our lives in the years to come. Yet, in a competitive world economy, the NSF reported that our R&D expenditures has fallen as a share of the world total, as the growing Asian economies gained a greater share. This bill can help reverse that trend.
“The America COMPETES Act won bipartisan support the first time Congress authorized it in 2007—I hope that this time will be no different.”