On Friday, June 7, 2019, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Keep STEM Talent Act of 2019. The bill provides a path for international students studying at a U.S. institution for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) advanced degrees to stay and work in the U.S. by exempting students who have criteria-approved job offers from the Green Card cap.
A congressional proposal that would overturn a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that barred the patenting of human genes and ease other restrictions on patenting software and biomedical inventions is drawing fierce criticism from some scientific societies and patient advocates.
Senior committee aides speaking to reporters on Thursday were short on details, but the move marks the first time a Senate panel has voted to support a separate service for space. In the same measure, senators also called for an overhaul of how the military buys satellites and launch services.
This week, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), co-founders of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus, unveiled the Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act (AI-IA). The act aims to organize a coordinated national strategy to accelerate AI deployments in government agencies, academia, and the private sector over the next 10 years. It will also see the federal government provide $2.2 billion USD in investments.
"It seems to me it’s time for a time out," House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said during the hearing. "[This technology] is virtually unregulated -- but I think that frankly needs to change." The intensifying federal scrutiny comes amid a national debate over the technology, which has attracted the criticism of privacy and civil rights activists and calls for new restrictions.
The success of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programs shows that effective public-private partnerships can play an important role in stimulating America’s innovation economy. In general, the SBIR and STTR programs have been highly successful and deserve Congress’s continued and enthusiastic support.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is introducing a bill Wednesday to boost the reliability of wind and solar electricity, one of the first of what may be several Republican energy bills in the pipeline. Collins’s bill looks to provide $60 million annually for five years toward developing batteries and other types of next-generation storage as a backstop for intermittent generation.
Lawmakers moved on a host of bills this week centered around educational technology, including legislation aimed at restoring student privacy, bolstering the nation’s cybersecurity workforce, funding school security and better understanding participation in science and technology-related subjects among underrepresented groups.
A key House panel has rejected the Trump administration’s plan to create Space Force, a sixth branch of the U.S. military focused on orbital operations. The proposal “leaves many unanswered questions and lacks important details and supporting analysis to justify the proposed size, scope, cost, roles, and authorities for the new military service,” members of the Democrat-led House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee said in their report on the 2020 budget proposal.
With thousands of U.S. technology positions remaining unfilled every day, the need to grow a larger, more inclusive STEM workforce is clear. The challenge? How to proceed. We can help close the innovation workforce gap if we expand our investments in three key areas -- collaboration, inclusion and innovative educational policies -- including reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.