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Pelosi -- America COMPETES Act Asserts America's Global Economic Leadership

Washington, D.C. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this evening supporting H.R. 2272, the America COMPETES Act conference report. The conference report passed by a vote of 367 to 57.   Below are the Speaker's remarks:

'What an exciting day for the Congress.  Some of you are too young to know this, but you've read about it in history books.  I remember when President Kennedy came forward in 1961 and said that he was going to inaugurate a program that would send a man to the moon and back safely within 10 years. 

'Now, for those of you who weren't born yet and just read about it in history books, you have to know that sending a man to the moon was such an impossible idea at that time.  It would almost be like a magician cutting somebody in half and then putting him together again.  How could this possibly happen, that somebody would go into the sky, to the moon, and then come back? 

'In his remarks, President Kennedy made the following statement: 'The vows of this nation can only be fulfilled if we are first, and therefore, we intend to be first.  Our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to our selves as well as others, all require us to make this effort.'

'This is our Innovation Agenda which is reflected in the innovation legislation before us today.  In answering President Kennedy's call at that time, to put a man on the moon, America unleashed an unprecedented technological advance that built the world's most vibrant economy.  The talent, intellect, and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people that made this country the world leader is being seriously challenged today by other countries.  Americans must continue to innovate in order to create new, thriving industries that will produce millions of good jobs here at home and a better future for the next generation. 

'Today, Congress has the opportunity to make a decision for the future. 

'Nearly two years ago, House Democrats created our Innovation Agenda, in a bipartisan way, which guarantees our national security and economic prosperity, expands markets for American products, and asserts our leadership throughout the world in the decades to come.

'Already this year, the New Direction Congress has led the way in promoting innovation in investments in education, science, and research and development.

'Today, with the America COMPETES Act, we have bipartisan, bicameral legislation that implements much of the Innovation Agenda.

'The COMPETES Act focuses on four key areas: education, research and development, energy independence, and small business.

'In education, the COMPETES Act recognizes that America's greatest resources for innovation are in classrooms across this country.  This legislation invests in creating the most highly qualified teachers, and training the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers through public-private partnerships.  This bill also takes steps to ensure that future innovators reflect the diversity of our country.

'What I love about this bill is that it's market-oriented, public-private, entrepreneurial-partnership, to keep us number one. 

'We know that independent scientific research provides, innovation begins in the classroom and that scientific research provides the foundation for innovation and future technologies.  The COMPETES Act makes a sustained commitment to research and development by putting us on a path to doubling funding for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy's Office of Science. 

'I heard Congressman Wamp with great enthusiasm talk about the ARPA for energy, I'm excited about it as well.  To help achieve energy independence, the COMPETES Act focuses on energy research and innovation by creating a new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E).

'This new initiative will provide talent and resources for high-risk, high-reward energy research and technology development, and attract investment for the next generation of revolutionary technologies.

'And finally, the America COMPETES Act recognizes that small businesses are often the catalysts for technological innovation, and the backbone of a strong economy.   It puts us on a path to doubling the funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and creates a new initiative, the Technology Innovation Program, to support high-risk, high-reward, pre-competitive technology for small and medium size companies. 

'Because this bill is a decision in favor of future jobs, and future economic strength, it has earned the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce, many university Presidents, ITI, TechNet, and the National Association of Manufacturers, among others. 

'I urge all of my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to support it.  And before I close I want to acknowledge the great leadership of Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, and Congressman George Miller who is the chair of our policy committee, for the work they did in bringing people together, Democrats and Republicans, entrepreneurs, high-tech, bio-tech, academics, people in the work-force, students, venture capitalists. Meetings were held all over the country to put together the Innovation Agenda, which is reflected in this legislation. 

'In passing this bill, we're asserting global economic leadership, create new business ventures and jobs and give future generations the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.  

'I began my remarks, Mr. Speaker, by quoting President Kennedy, who is an inspiration to so many of us of a certain generation who are active in public service today.  He harkened back to our founders and our vows to our nation, and I want to hearken back to that place too, because our founders were among the earliest American entrepreneurs.  They were magnificent disrupters, they thought in new and fresh and different ways. 

'They came together, imagine the confidence they had; they declared their independence from the great Naval power in existence at the time, did so in a declaration that asserted the quality of all people, and then went forward to win the Revolutionary War, write a Constitution that made us the freest people in the world.  And when they did so, they designed the great seal of the United States.  And on that great seal it says 'Novus Ordo Seclorum.'  These people, with all that revolutionary spirit, with all that disruption of that status quo, had so much confidence in what they were doing, so much faith in themselves, faith in this country to be, and faith in God, that they said what they were establishing was for the century, for the ages.  Seclorum.  Those of you who know Latin know that that means 'forever.'  And it was that optimism, that confidence that built America. 

'It is in that spirit, of disruption of change, of doing something different, of having a big goal of aspiring to greatness that we as President Kennedy said: 'Do honor the vows of our nation,' and this legislation is in their pioneer and entrepreneurial spirit.'