Lipinski's Leadership Helps Pass Bipartisan Bill to Create Jobs by Investing in Science Education, Innovative Research, and Manufacturing

Today, Research and Science Education Subcommittee Chairman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) helped lead passage of bipartisan legislation in the House to create jobs and maintain America's global economic leadership by investing in science education and innovative research in areas such as manufacturing. The America COMPETES Act, H.R. 5116, was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 262 to 150.

"At a time when 15 million Americans are unemployed, this bill is focused on creating jobs and securing our nation's position at the forefront of the global economy," said Chairman Lipinski, a former college professor who holds two engineering degrees. "If we are going to overcome the increasingly stiff challenges we face from China and other countries, we must invest in education and innovation. History shows that federal support for basic research helps lead to new companies, jobs, and even entire industries. The reauthorization of the COMPETES Act is a critical investment in the unparalleled scientific and technological ingenuity of the American people."

"Northwestern University strongly supports the reauthorization of the COMPETES Act, and thanks Congressman Lipinski for his leadership on this important legislation," Northwestern President Morton O. Schapiro said. "We especially commend Congressman Lipinski's concern with human investment. By cultivating the next generation of scientists and engineers, this bill helps to ensure that our future workforce will have the education and skills to compete in the global marketplace."

The COMPETES Act includes Congressman Lipinski's National Science Foundation reauthorization, which authorizes high-tech manufacturing research and creates new grant and fellowship programs to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. In addition, the bill contains Congressman Lipinski's bipartisan GENIUS Act, H.R. 5094, which creates a program to offer up to $12 million in cash prizes for solving crucial science problems. Congressman Lipinski also added a Buy American amendment to the bill to support high-skill, high-wage jobs at innovative small U.S. manufacturers. This measure aims to help local manufacturers such as Meyer Tool & Manufacturing Inc. in Oak Lawn, which helps supply components to Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab.

Last month, The Science Coalition released a report identifying 100 companies that are the result of federal investments in basic research, including five innovative small start-ups in Illinois, one of the top destinations for federal research dollars in the country. These companies collectively employ over 100,000 people. Yet they are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are many other companies that would not have been possible without federally funded basic research. Local companies that have previously received funding under COMPETES include Nalco Co. in Bedford Park, which together with Argonne National Laboratory recently received $2.25 million to develop a process to eliminate CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

"The reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act takes a critical piece of legislation and makes it even better," Chairman Lipinski said. "It will help us maintain our competitive edge by putting us on a path to double our investment in basic research programs; supporting transformative research in key areas such as clean energy; improving STEM education; investing in research to enhance the manufacturing sector's productivity and innovation; and improving programs to ensure researchers' discoveries translate into new products, jobs, and companies. I look forward to continuing to help guide this bill to final passage this year."

(May 28, 2010)