WASHINGTON – This week, the U.S. House of Representatives reauthorized the America COMPETES Act, Congressman Bart Gordon’s bill to strengthen American scientific and economic leadership, support employers and create jobs in the short-, mid-, and long-term through investments in science, innovation and education.
Gordon, who chairs the House Committee on Science and Technology, introduced the original version of the America COMPETES Act in 2007 and has taken national leadership on support for innovation and economic competitiveness.
“More than half of the growth in our nation’s GDP since World War II can be attributed to development and adoption of new technologies. Investing in innovation boosts our economy as a whole and creates jobs in all sectors—for high school graduates as well as Ph.D.s,” Gordon said. “Business leaders, researchers and educators all agree the America COMPETES Act is crucial to ensuring our nation can compete in a global economy.”
In the short-term, the COMPETES Act creates jobs by offering grants to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers become more efficient and stay competitive. In the mid-term, the bill strengthens regional economies through Regional Innovation Clusters, which support collaboration between local industry, local government, community colleges and universities. To ensure America’s long-term economic leadership, the bill invests in basic research and strengthens science, technology, engineering and math education at all levels to prepare the next generation for high-quality jobs in the increasingly high-tech global market.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, more than 90 colleges and universities—including MTSU and Tennessee Tech University—and more than 650 companies across the country endorsed the bill as key to America’s economic future.
The bill that passed the House included views and amendments from Republican and Democratic members. Over the course of 48 hearings, business leaders and experts from various agencies and industries testified to the importance of investing in innovation.
“This bill began with a bipartisan group of colleagues responding to a National Academies Rising Above the Gathering Storm report, which painted a dire picture of a country in danger of losing its competitive edge in the global economy,” Gordon said. “The stakes are simply too high to let politics interfere with making sure the best ideas are heard. That’s why I’ve worked with like-minded Republicans and Democrats at every step of the process—lawmakers who refuse to accept a future in which our nation’s economy is dependent on foreign technology, or in which our children and grandchildren lose out on high-paying jobs because they are ill-equipped to compete.”
The America COMPETES Act passed with bipartisan support and will go to the Senate for approval.