Posted on January 31, 2006
Tonight the President put the issue of competitiveness front and center on the nation’s agenda. This represents a giant step forward. The President’s American Competitiveness Initiative will help keep America’s brainpower advantage so that we grow the best jobs here instead of shipping them to China and India. The President’s proposal contains many of the ideas in our PACE Act legislation, which is based on a report from the National Academies, and now has 60 cosponsors, 30 Republicans and 30 Democrats, including the Senate majority and minority leaders. Hearings on this legislation are set to begin in the coming weeks. Protecting America’s Competitive Edge (PACE) Act provisions include: *Doubling the nation’s investment in basic research over seven years *Establishing a new research agency within the Department of Energy *Providing 10,000 new scholarships for future math and science teachers at $20,000 per year *Increasing to 1.5 million the number of students who take Advanced Placement courses in math and science *Providing 25,000 new scholarships of $20,000 per year and 5,000 new fellowships for future American scientists *Streamlining the visa process for bright foreign students so we attract the world’s brightest to study alongside America’s brightest *Doubling and making permanent the research and development tax credit to encourage private, job-producing research The Protecting America’s Competitive Edge (PACE) Act was announced on January 25 by Senators Lamar Alexander, Pete Domenici, Jeff Bingaman and Barbara Mikulski, along with retired Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine. The PACE Act implements the 20 recommendations contained in the October report by the National Academies titled “Rising Above the Gathering Storm.” This report came in response to a question Alexander and Bingaman asked the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine last May: “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?” In December, Alexander, Domenici and Bingaman met with President Bush at the White House to discuss the findings of the National Academies report and plans for competitiveness legislation.