Issue Date: April 30, 2007
Congress moves innovation Bills
Both houses of Congress passed bills last week designed to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive in an increasingly global market by boosting funding for math and science research. The bills support the President's American Competitiveness Initiative, which focuses on improving U.S. science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and basic research. The House acted first by passing a pair of bills on April 24 that are part of the Democrats' Innovation Agenda. One of the bills (H.R. 362) specifically targets improving the quality of STEM teachers by providing in-service training and expanding programs to encourage students to teach in this area. The other bill (H.R. 363) directs NSF and the Department of Energy to support early-career researchers and establishes a presidential innovation award to stimulate scientific and engineering advances in areas of national interest. For its part, the Senate passed a bill (S. 761) on April 25 that would raise the budgets of key science- and math-related federal agencies such as NSF and DOE. The Senate bill would also increase support for STEM education programs. The Administration has voiced its general support of all three measures, but it has raised concerns about the costs and the priorities contained in the legislation.
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