|President George W. Bush signs H.R. 2272, The America Competes Act, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007, in the Oval Office.
In 2007, Congress passed a landmark package of legislation, known as the America COMPETES Act, to strengthen the nation’s competitive position by stimulating scientific research and education.
The provisions redefined the roles of several federal science agencies.
Although many of the COMPETES Act programs are just beginning, the House Science and Technology Committee already has begun the process of reauthorizing the legislation before it expires at the end of 2010. Hoping to improve upon the previous bill, the committee has held numerous hearings since January on various aspects of COMPETES, including its impact on the economy, science education and infrastructure.
There appears to be broad consensus among members of Congress that COMPETES is contributing positively to America’s economic competitiveness. In testimony before the committee on Jan. 20, business leaders expressed their support for the legislation.
“The America COMPETES Act absolutely is vital to ensuring future U.S. innovation leadership and prosperity and security for America’s workers,” said John Castellani, president of Business Roundtable.
Business leaders emphasized the importance of provisions that would allow for the doubling of the budgets of key science agencies.
John Engler, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Manufacturers, said that doubling federal funding for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science would create jobs by building the infrastructure necessary for cutting-edge science and by funding grants that help spur innovation.