To Compete, the America COMPETES Act

John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, last week joined six other leaders in education, technology and business in urging the Senate to move quickly and pass the America COMPETES Act. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Ranking Member McConnell, the signers explained the legislation’s critical importance to education and U.S. competitiveness.  Excerpt:

The original America COMPETES Act, enacted with strong bipartisan support in 2007, was designed to respond to concerns raised by the seminal National Academies’ report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm. The Act has played a crucial role in charting our nation’s path forward by focusing attention on the critical steps our nation must take to foster innovation and keep the United States competitive in the global economy – investing in basic research and our workforce through effective STEM programs. However, the original COMPETES Act was meant to be the first,  three-year installment of a longer-term commitment toward achieving these goals. Sustaining these investments in research, and developing a highly educated, scientifically literate workforce are both essential to our country’s continued success in making the scientific discoveries and developing the cutting-edge technologies that will propel our economy in the future.

The House bill is H.R. 5116, which passed 262-150 in  May. The Senate bill is S. 3605, and it has already been passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee.

As the letter concludes: “We recognize the dire fiscal challenges facing the nation and the difficult choices on federal spending that policymakers must make. Continued strong funding of basic research and STEM education programs will help ensure  the economic growth needed torestore long-term fiscal strength and national prosperity.”

The other signers:

Paul S. Otellini
Chair, Task Force on American Innovation
President and Chief Executive Officer, Intel Corporation

Jared L. Cohon
Chair, Association of American Universities (AAU)
President, Carnegie Mellon University

Brian C. Toohey
President, Semiconductor Industry Association

William D. Green
Chair, Business Roundtable Education, Innovation and Workforce Initiative
Chairman and CEO, Accenture

Daniel Mark Fogel
Chair, Association of Public and Landgrant Universities (APLU)
President, University of Vermont

Deborah L. Wince-Smith
President and Chief Executive Officer, Council on Competitiveness

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