Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I restate my earlier premise that science is the work of the 21st century. Maybe we will be saying the 22nd century. Because when you are innovative and do research, you create jobs and opportunities. This amendment establishes that basic research is in the national interest of the United States.
Let me suggest to you that we have a lot of universities in this country. When I travel, I always hear individuals seeking to come to be taught in American institutions of higher education. It is because of the creative thought and, in many instances, the research that is done, whether in medicine or all the forms of science and [Page: H687]
technology, because we have a free-flowing basis upon which people can think and invent. I want that to continue. I want the
National Science Foundation to be at the cornerstone of that.
I will include in the Record an article titled, ``The Future Postponed.'' Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit.
Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I support this amendment by the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee), her second amendment that we are accepting on this side of the aisle.
I believe this amendment, in combination with the previous amendment, aims to ensure that the National Science Foundation grants fund research that meets the highest standards so taxpayer dollars are not wasted on frivolous grants or poorly designed research proposals.
This amendment recognizes the National Science Foundation's basic research mission and endorses applying the bill's national interest standards and criteria to National Science Foundation's basic research grants.
I thank the gentlewoman for her amendment, and I support it.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank the gentleman for supporting this amendment, and I thank the ranking member for supporting it.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, let me say that, in addition to following protocol, we must invest funds, money, in basic research.
But I also want to take note of something that I have watched over the years, and I have added amendments, and I have seen the growth.
One of my first acts on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee was to utilize laboratory tools or equipment that were no longer needed by the Federal Government in its national science lab to give them to middle schools and high schools so that they would have access to this kind of equipment. Many of us know that there are schools all throughout America who are deficient in science labs. I see them in my district. I hear about them.
I think the other important point is that, over the years, we have expanded the research collaboration to Historically Black Colleges, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Native American-Serving, rural, and colleges that serve the economically disadvantaged.
Those are good things because we don't know where the genius is America and how many people may come up with outstanding research. So I hope that we do focus on how important basic research is.
I ask my colleagues to support the Jackson Lee amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).
The amendment was agreed to.
AMENDMENT NO. 5 OFFERED BY MS.
The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 5 printed in part B of House Report 114-420.
Ms. DelBENE. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.
The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Page 4, line 6, insert ``, including computer science and information technology sectors,'' after ``workforce''.
The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 609, the gentlewoman from Washington (Ms. DelBene) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes. [Page: H689]
The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Washington.
Ms. DelBENE. Mr. Chair, I rise to offer this amendment to ensure the National Science Foundation can continue investing in the development of an American workforce that is globally competitive in computer science and information technology. This has been a bipartisan goal in the past, and I am hopeful everyone in this Chamber will be able to support it.
Computing technology has become an integral part of our lives, transforming our society and our Nation's economy. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Puget Sound region. I have the honor of representing Washington's First District, which has some of the world's leading software companies and technology innovators.
But the same can be seen across the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be roughly 10 million STEM jobs by 2020 and, of those jobs, half are expected to be in computing and information technology. That is nearly 5 million good-paying jobs. But unless we step up our game, our country won't have enough computer science graduates to fill those positions.
Today, there continues to be a substantial shortage of Americans with the skills needed to fill computing jobs, and too few of our students are being given the opportunity to learn computer science, both at the K-12 level and in college. What is worse, dramatic disparities remain for girls and students of color.
Last year, less than 25 percent of students taking the AP Computer Science exam were girls, while less than 15 percent were African American or Latino.
To remain economically competitive, we need to make smart investments now to address these disparities and ensure we have a strong 21st century workforce in the decades to come. Thankfully, NSF supports vital research and development projects to help prepare the next generation to compete in STEM jobs, something we all agree is an important goal.
My amendment simply clarifies that, under the legislation, NSF can also invest in projects aimed at developing an American workforce that is globally competitive in computing and information technology, sectors that are seeing enormous growth here at home and around the globe.
If we want our students to be prepared for the digital economy, NSF must be able to fund projects that support the teaching and learning of essential computer science skills like coding, programming, designing, and debugging. My amendment will do just that. It will ensure we are looking forward and preparing students for the college degrees and careers of the future.
I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support it.
I reserve the balance of my time.