WASHINGTON – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and Ranking Member of the Space, Aeronautics and Related Sciences Commerce Subcommittee, today applauded the passage of the America Competes Act (S. 761). The legislation to make America more competitive in the global marketplace by increasing investment in research and expanding education in math, science and engineering. The bill passed by a large bipartisan margin of 88 to 8.   

“If we want to compete and succeed in a fast-changing global economy, we need to upgrade our education system and increase our commitment to research and innovation,” said Sen. Hutchison.  “This bill addresses the competitive challenge head-on by ensuring that both NASA and the National Science Foundation expand their strong, traditional roles in fueling technological achievement.”

In 2006, Sen. Hutchison was an original cosponsor of S.2197, the Protecting America’s Competitive Edge (PACE) Act; S. 2802, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act; and S. 3936, the National Competitiveness Investment Act, to address America’s competitiveness in the fields of math, science and engineering. Sen. Hutchison successfully amended S. 2802 to include NASA in inter-agency efforts for competitiveness and innovation. She also passed an amendment to focus the increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), included in the bill, on physical sciences, technology, engineering and math.  Both of these amendments were included in the America Competes Act.

The America Competes Act increases research investment by doubling the authorized funding levels for the NSF from approximately $5.6 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 to $11.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2011.  It increases funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science over 5 years, from $3.6 billion in FY 2006 to over $5.2 billion in FY 2011.

The bill authorizes competitive grants to states to promote better coordination of elementary and secondary education with the knowledge and skills needed for success in post-secondary education, the workforce and the U.S. Armed Forces.  Another key emphasis is strengthening the skills of thousands of math and science teachers through support for the Teachers Institutes for the 21st Century Program at NSF.