Just days after introduction, the bipartisan Senate legislation designed to boost federal funding for science and education programs has hit the magic number (at least in the Senate): 60 Senators “on the bill.” That supermajority bodes well for the legislation, with 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans so far agreeing to back the legislation. The most recent co-sponsors include Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Bill Frist (R-TN).
“The bipartisan interest and support that my Senate colleagues have shown in this legislation is really very encouraging,” said Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), one of the two Democrats and two Republicans who introduced the bills. “I’m also encouraged by news reports that President Bush is expected to mention global economic competitiveness in his State of the Union speech tonight.”
“I’m delighted not only to have 60 cosponsors on our bill, but to have them divided evenly between Republican and Democrat,” Sen. Domenici added. “The passion for maintaining America’s leading edge crosses party lines. Sixty cosponsors in less than a week reflects a broad commitment in the Senate to do what it takes to grow America’s brain power and maintain our role as the global leader -- a commitment President Bush shares with us. I expect exciting things to come from these bills and the President’s own competitiveness initiative.”
The package of bills -- S. 2197, S. 2198 and S. 2199 – was introduced last week by Sens. Pete Domenici (R-NM), Bingaman, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). Called the “Protecting America’s Competitive Edge” Act (PACE), the bills would add billions of dollars in federal funding for science and education programs. The legislation stems from a report released last fall by the National Academy of Sciences that outlined a plan to ensure the U.S. remains economically competitive with the rest of the world. Sens. Bingaman and Alexander, with the encouragement of Sen. Domenici, asked for the study.
Last month, in a meeting with President Bush, the three senators suggested that the President include this issue as a theme in tonight’s SOTU speech. This Friday, Sen. Bingaman and Sen. Domenici will join President Bush in Albuquerque at an event to further elevate global competitiveness as a key economic issue for our nation.
Here’s the latest list of PACE co-sponsors:
33) Bill Nelson