Sens. Alexander, Domenici, Bingaman and Mikulski Introduce Bipartisan PACE Act To Boost U.S. Competitiveness

Posted on January 25, 2006

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), along with retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine, today introduced a package of three bills aimed at helping America maintain its leading edge in science and technology. The bills are collectively titled the Protecting America’s Competitive Edge (PACE) Act. “We’re now playing in a tougher league,” Alexander said. “China and India are competing for our jobs. The best way to keep those jobs in America is to maintain our brainpower edge in science and technology. We asked the experts who should know exactly what we should do. They’ve told us. Now we should do it.” In December, Senators Alexander, Domenici and Bingaman met with President Bush at the White House to discuss the findings of the National Academies Augustine report and their plans for the legislation introduced today. “The White House’s interest in the Augustine report is very good news,” Alexander said. “I hope 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.” The PACE Act implements 20 recommendations contained in the October report by the National Academies titled “Rising Above the Gathering Storm.” The National Academies report, compiled at the request of Senators Alexander and Bingaman, 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. Key provisions of the PACE Act legislation introduced today, include: Strengthening the nation’s traditional commitment to research: · More research opportunities for scientists and engineers · New agency for Transformational Energy Research Improving science and math education: · Scholarships for future teachers of math and science · Summer academies for teachers at national laboratories and universities · Advanced Placement courses for high school students in math and science · Specialty math and science high schools Increasing the talent pool by improving higher education: · Scholarships and fellowships for future scientists · Attracting the brightest foreign students to our universities Growing our economy by providing incentives for innovation: · Doubling the research and development tax credit to encourage innovation · Creating a tax credit to encourage employers to invest in employees’ education