U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today joined Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and a bipartisan group of senators to introduce the National Competitiveness Investment Act, a legislative response to recommendations contained in the National Academies’ “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report and the Council on Competitiveness’ “Innovate America” report.
“This bill is about growing our economy so that in 20 years we don’t wake up and wonder how countries like China and India have passed us by,” Alexander said. “It’s a pro-growth investment we must make if America is to set the pace in science and technology for the next generation.”
The legislation focuses on three primary areas important to maintaining and improving U.S. innovation in the 21st Century: (1) increasing research investment, (2) strengthening educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from elementary through graduate school, and (3) developing an innovation infrastructure.
Additional sponsors of the bill include Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), John Ensign (R-NV), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Bill Nelson (D-FL).
Several sections of the National Competitiveness Investment Act are derived from proposals in the Protecting America’s Competitive Edge (PACE) Act, which Alexander introduced with Senators Domenici, Bingaman and Mikulski earlier this year, and which has 70 cosponsors – 35 Republicans and 35 Democrats. The PACE Act implemented the recommendations contained in the “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” report which came in response to a question Alexander and Bingaman asked the National Academies in May 2005: “What are the ten top actions that federal policy makers could take to enhance the science and technology enterprise so the United States can successfully compete, prosper and be secure in the global community of the 21st century?”