Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) managed floor debate for the America COMPETES Act, legislation that will bolster the United States’ leadership in science and innovation, strengthen a growing and diverse STEM workforce, and advance American manufacturing.

Congresswoman Ross said on the House floor: “Our nation has long been a global leader in science and technology, propelled by companies and universities like the ones in my district that perform cutting-edge research every day. Maintaining this position requires significant investment and cooperation across the government and private sector.

“This bill will increase funding for the National Science Foundation. It will support the work of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science in fighting climate change. And it will empower the next generation of STEM teachers, researchers, and scientists of all backgrounds.

“At a time when America faces unprecedented international competition, H.R. 4521 will reinforce our nation’s global leadership in science, technology, and innovation. I am thrilled we are bringing it to the House floor.”

Congresswoman Ross’ floor speech is available here.

Today the House will begin voting on amendments to the legislation, including Congresswoman Ross’ amendments that will:

  • Encourage federal agencies substantially engaged in the development, application, or oversight of emerging technologies to consider designating an individual as an emerging technology lead to advise the agency on the responsible use of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence;
  • Add “educational technology” as a key technology focus area, which will encourage research into education technologies including remote learning;
  • Expand the bill’s green card cap exemption for individuals with doctorates in STEM fields to include individuals with doctorates in these health care fields; and
  • Expand the green card cap exemption to include individuals with advanced degrees (not only doctorates) in STEM fields who work in critical industries.

The America COMPETES Act currently includes three bills and two amendments authored by Congresswoman Ross:

  • Energizing Technology Transfer Act, bipartisan legislation to facilitate the commercial application of clean energy tech by universities and private companies.
  • National Science & Technology Strategy Act, bipartisan legislation that directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to develop a comprehensive national science and technology strategy and identify future needs, barriers, and opportunities for U.S. science and tech.
  • NSF Technology Research Institutes Act, bipartisan legislation to create a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant program to fund technology research activities, including conducting fundamental and experimental research, commercializing innovative technology, creating computational models, and establishing traineeship programs for graduate students.
  • Innovations in STEM Education at Community Colleges, an amendment to the NSF for the Future Act co-authored with Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) that directs NSF to award grants to institutions of higher education to advance research on the nature of learning and teaching at community colleges and to improve outcomes for students who enter the workforce upon completion of their STEM degree or credential or transfer to 4-year institutions.
  • Software Supply Chain Cybersecurity, an amendment to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the Future Act that requires NIST to develop security practices to enable software developers and operators to identify, assess, and manage cyber risks over the full lifestyle of software products, and to share technical expertise with federal agencies, industry stakeholders, and standards development organizations.