Republican News

Republican News

Jan 19 2006

Four Senators to File Bipartisan PACE Bill Package Next Week to Boost U.S. Competitiveness

Bill package, called Protect America's Competitive Edge Act, will strengthen U.S. science and technology expertise

Washington, D.C. – Senators Pete Domenici, R-NM, Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, Lamar Alexander, R-TN, and Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, today announced plans to introduce a package of three bills next week aimed at helping America maintain its leading edge in science and technology. The bills will be collectively titled the Protect America’s Competitive Edge Act. The PACE Act implements 20 recommendations contained in a recent report by the National Academy of Science titled “Rising Above the Gathering Storm.”

Domenici, Bingaman and Alexander met with President Bush in December to urge him to consider ways to implement the NAS recommendations in the Administration’s budget. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, in Q and A following a speech last week at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said he read the report and found it compelling. “We are taking a very close look at it in the Administration,” he said. “We are very forward leaning in believing it is the right issue to address.”

“Mr. Card is right. This is the right issue and now is the time. We intend the bipartisan bills we will introduce next week to complement  budgetary efforts by the Administration. I expect at least one of these bills to be referred to my committee and plan on a prompt hearing and swift mark-up,” Domenici said.

“It’s clear that the president and his advisors share our concern about the prospects of losing our competitive edge in the global economy.  It’s my hope that the administration’s budget reflects this concern by making a significant increase in our nation’s investment in science and technology,” Bingaman said.

“The White House’s interest in the Augustine Report is very good news,” Alexander said. “My hope is that the President makes keeping America’s brainpower advantage a focus of his State of the Union message and of his three remaining years in office. This is the way to keep America on top.”

“A country that doesn’t innovate, stagnates. I am pleased to see movement at all levels of our government to support these important initiatives,” Mikulski said.

The NAS report, compiled at the request of Senators Bingaman and Alexander, concludes the United States’ world economic leadership will erode in the coming years if the United States doesn’t proactively seek to improve the scientific and technological expertise of its workforce.

The PACE Act will consist of three separate bills which taken together will enact each of the report’s twenty recommendations. Provisions in the bills will include doubling federal funding for basic research; competitive, merit-based scholarships for future math and science teachers; visa reform for foreign science and mathematics students; and an extension of the research and development tax credit.