**12/21 Update** Today, the House passed the America COMPETES Act, as already agreed to in the Senate. The legislation now goes to the President, who is expected to sign it. Additional details will be provided shortly
On December 17th, in somewhat of a surprise move, the Senate voted to pass the America COMPETES Act. The legislation had been sidelined for weeks by a crowded agenda for the current lame duck session of Congress as well as over concerns that the spending levels authorized were too large in light of the federal budget deficit. COMPETES authorizes annual budget increases for the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. While passage of COMPETES is certainly a positive development, there is no guarantee that the annual appropriations process will keep the agencies funded at the levels authorized.
From the Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Senator Murray Applauds Passage of Bill to Strengthen Science and Math Programs in Washington State Schools
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the passage of a bill that will strengthen and expand science and mathematics programs in schools in Washington state and across the country. The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 includes provisions to expand science and mathematics programs at all points in our education system. Additionally, the Act directs business and the federal government to coordinate with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs to help create innovative educational opportunities, increase research investment, and improve economic competitiveness.
“Thanks to ground-breaking educational programs, Washington state is home to some of the world’s most innovative workers, businesses, and schools. However, we must continue developing new programs and applying more resources if we want our workers to be competitive in the global economy,” said Senator Murray. “This bill will help America’s workers continue to compete, and will direct the government to use available tools to strengthen educational opportunities and increase investments in research projects that will benefit future generations.”
The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 will:
- Increase research investment;
- Strengthen educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from elementary through graduate school; and
- Develop an infrastructure that will enhance innovation and competitiveness in the United States.