Bills Aim To Boost U.S. Competitiveness

January 25, 2006
05:35 PM
Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation
To Boost U.S. Competitiveness in Science & Technology
Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), along with retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine, today are introducing a package of three bills aimed at helping America maintain its leading edge in science and technology.  The bills are collectively titled the Protecting America’s Competitive Edge (PACE) Act.  The PACE Act implements 20 recommendations contained in a recent report by the National Academy of Science, Rising Above the Gathering Storm.”
Sen. Domenici:  “It is clear to us that energizing American brainpower must be a priority.  Every facet of our lives, from national security to modern medicine to the everyday household goods, relies on technology.  There are troubling signs we are not keeping pace with other advancing nations.  We must change, and that change is reflected in the PACE Act.”
Senator Bingaman:  “The PACE Act will sustain our vibrant science and technology sector, and with it our well-being, health, environment, and security.  It will invest in R&D, encourage education, and nurture a business environment that transforms new knowledge into new high wage jobs.  The passage of this farsighted public investment initiative will ensure that the United States is stronger, smarter, and leads the world in scientific and technological innovation well into the future.”
Sen. Alexander:  “We’re now playing in a tougher league. China and India are competing for our jobs. The best way to keep those jobs in America is to maintain our brainpower edge in science and technology.  We asked the experts who should know exactly what we should do.  They’ve told us.  Now we should do it.”
Sen. Mikulski:  “The whole foundation of American culture and economy is based on the concept of discovery and innovation.  When you look at what has made America a superpower, it’s our innovation and our technology.  We have to look at where the new ideas are going to come from that are going to generate the new products for the 21st century.  The PACE Act will help to set the framework and creates the building blocks that we need for a smarter America.”
Key Provisions of the PACE Act:
Strengthens the Nation’s Traditional Commitment to Research
•  More research opportunities for scientists and engineers
•  Targeted research grants for early career scientists and engineers
•  New federal funds to buy equipment and upgrade research laboratories
•  A new agency for transformational energy research
•  High-risk, high-payoff research
Improves K-12 Math/Science Education
•  Scholarships for future teachers of math and science
•  Math and science teacher training programs
•  Summer academies for teachers
•  Advanced placement courses in math and science
•  Specialty math and science high schools
•  Internships and summer programs for middle and high school students
Increases the Talent Pool by Improving Higher Education
•  Scholarships and fellowships for future scientists
•  Attracting the brightest foreign students to our universities
Grows our Economy by Providing Incentives for Innovation
•  Doubling the research & development tax credit to encourage innovation
•  Creating a tax credit to encourage employers to invest in employees’ education
•  Development of science parks