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Legislative Update: America COMPETES Act, Education Jobs Bill

House Committee Approves America COMPETES Act

Last week the House Committee on Science and Technology marked up H.R. 5116, America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, and approved it by a vote of 29 to 8. Originally authorized in 2007, the reauthorized bill seeks to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in order to maintain the United States’ global economic leadership. The bill would coordinate STEM programs across federal agencies and encourage more participation by females and underrepresented groups. The bill would also focus on the challenges faced by rural school districts, which often have less access to high speed Internet and lab resources.

The bill now goes to the full House for approval. Chairman Bart Gordon’s (TN) goal is to get the legislation through the House before the Memorial Day recess. Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation also held a hearing to consider the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act.

The bill has been endorsed by several business leaders including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Education Jobs Fund

Senator Tom Harkin told Congressional Quarterly May 4 that a Senate floor vote on S. 3206, Keep Our Educators Working Act of 2010, may come in the next few weeks, but “there is not a committed time for a vote.”

The Education Commission of the States has put together a resource that provides a chart of the approximate amount of funding each state could receive under the education jobs fund and the approximate number of education jobs created or saved by the fund. Both of these charts break down the estimates by secondary and postsecondary distributions. 

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