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Tech-Boosting Bills Pass House

The bills focus on science, technology, engineering, and math advancement and would award new researchers at least $80,000 annually for five years.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved two bills that the Electronic Industries Alliance said will help American companies remain competitive. Both bills are from Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon.

The first bill, H.R. 362, would expand scholarships, stipends, and training for science, technology, and engineering teachers' workshops and master's degree programs. It passed by a vote of 389-22.

The second bill introduced by Gordon, a Tennessee Democrat, H.R. 363, would create new grant programs through the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. It passed by a vote of 397-20.

The bills would award new researchers at least $80,000 annually, for five years; create a Presidential Innovation Award for science and engineering; and require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to report its recruiting and retention efforts at NIST laboratories and joint institutes. The legislation also asserted the need for a balanced science program at NASA to boost U.S. innovation and competitiveness.

"Fostering more physical science research and cultivating young minds are the twin pillars of America's future success in the technology industry," Storme Street, the Electronic Industries Alliance's VP of government relations, said in a prepared statement. "Today's overwhelming votes send a welcome sign that House Democrats and Republicans alike are committed to keeping the United States at the head of the innovation class." The bills' focus on science, technology, engineering, and math advancement reflects priorities the Electronic Industries Alliance has routinely backed. The group stressed the importance of such actions in its 2004 policy report, "The Technology Industry at an Innovation Crossroads."

The Electronic Industries Alliance counts nearly 1,300 member companies specializing in defense, space, and consumer electronics products, among other areas.

Both bills now move onto the Senate for further review.

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