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WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after passage of the Conference Report on the 21st Century Competitiveness Act, which passed on a bipartisan vote of 367 to 57:
“The adoption of this Conference Report on the 21st Century Competitiveness Act is the culmination of a year and a half-long, bipartisan effort to ensure our nation’s global economic competitiveness for years to come. And, this Conference Report – which was passed with strong bipartisan support – is yet another example of this Democratic Majority’s commitment to take our nation in a new direction and to address the priorities of the American people.
“It is undeniably true that we live in an information-based, global economy today where education and knowledge are the vital keys to national competitiveness and strength. This Conference Report – which responds to the challenges identified in the alarming National Academies report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” – will encourage innovation, discovery, and provide today’s students with the tools they will need to succeed in tomorrow’s economic marketplace.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who laid the ground work for this legislation through her Innovation Agenda, and Congressman Bart Gordon – the Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology – deserve great credit for moving this legislation forward and getting it enacted.
“Chairman Gordon worked with a broad coalition of academia, students, scientists, industry and other members to write and pass a strong, thoughtful bill that will advance our nation’s high-tech economy. Among other things, this legislation makes significant investments in funding for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs and increases the number of qualified teachers, while supporting critical scientific research and innovation through the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
“The Conference Report also takes major steps towards reducing our dependence on foreign oil by establishing the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) within the Department of Energy to encourage and support America’s best and brightest researchers and scientists to develop the cutting-edge technology necessary to make America energy independent.
“In today's global economy, the need for investment is self-evident and will pay tremendous dividends. The United States must maintain its leadership in research and discovery for our national and economic security, and this legislation demonstrates that this Congress is committed to spurring economic growth and encouraging innovation and the development of new technologies to ensure our national competitiveness.”