|3:53 PM EDT||
Steny Hoyer, D-MD 5th
Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, in order to compete in today's global economy, we need to attract the best and brightest math and science students from around the world. I think we all agree on that.
American technology and Internet companies--which are far and away the best in the world--are in dire need of more highly educated engineers and scientists. We're just not producing enough here. In the long term, we need to educate more Americans in STEM fields, but we also must increase the number of STEM visas so that our businesses can hire the top international graduates of American universities.
This could be a broadly bipartisan bill. It could pass easily. But once [Page: H6189]
again, unfortunately, we have chosen a good bill and inserted a partisan poison pill, making it impossible to pass the Senate or attract broad bipartisan support. How sad it is that that's been the history of this Congress. That poison bill is, of course, the elimination of the Diversity Visa Program, which ensures that individuals from a broad array of countries have the opportunity
to seek a better life here in America. The Statue of Liberty, with her torch raised, is being brought down just a little bit.
We don't know where our next great innovators will come from, and we ought to not close the doors on those who have been waiting patiently to have their number called in some far off corner of the world. That lottery is not only their salvation, but also our benefit. It's part of what makes America great.
I call on the Republican leadership to withdraw this bill and instead take up the bill introduced by my friend, the gentlewoman from California, Representative Lofgren, which accomplishes the objective I think we all want to accomplish. That version would create opportunities through a new STEM visa program without taking current opportunities away. I commend Ms. Lofgren for her work on this issue and for helping to sustain that yearning for America that still moves the hearts
of millions around the world.
In light of what I have just said, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the gentleman from Texas if he will yield for the purpose of allowing me to make a unanimous consent to amend his bill by striking all after the enacting clause and replacing the text with that of the gentlewoman from California's alternative, H.R. 6412, the Attracting the Best and Brightest Act of 2012. I tell my friend that will accomplish the objectives that you've talked about and I've talked about in getting high-tech people, the
availability, for our companies here in America. They need them, we want them, we ought to get them; and we ought to do it in a bipartisan way.
This is an opportunity for bipartisanship that unfortunately has not come as often as we would like. I would ask my friend to allow me to make that unanimous consent, that we agree to that. And I guarantee the gentleman we will get very substantial numbers of votes on this side of the aisle for that proposition, and I hope on your side as well.
Would the gentleman yield for that unanimous consent? The gentleman has been instructed not to yield to me for that unanimous consent, I understand? I regret that your side of the aisle wouldn't give me that opportunity for America--for America and our high-tech businesses.