First Steps on the Innovation Agenda (Rep. Zoe Lofgren)

Two years ago, Democrats issued our first Innovation Agenda as a challenge to the Republican majority. The Innovation Agenda originally grew out of a number of discussions with representatives from technology industries and academic research institutions, not to mention several long sessions between Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.), Representatives Eshoo (D-Calif.), Miller (D-Calif.), myself and others, in which we scrutinized and debated nearly every word of that document. Realizing that American preeminence in the global economy depended on technological and economic innovation, we took great care to identify five of the most crucial innovation issues. For each issue, we discussed the greatest threats to advancement and the best policy choices we could make to ensure that America maintains its technological and innovative edge over the competition. It was disappointing that the 109th Congress' leadership did not choose to take up any part of this agenda despite its overwhelming support in the business and academic communities.

Fast forward two years later and now Democrats are in the majority and we are moving on our promise to implement and improve the Innovation Agenda. Today, we are taking a large step in that direction. Not only are we unveiling our updated agenda for the 110th Congress, this week we already have part of that agenda on the floor ready for a vote. H.R. 362 provides training and scholarships for new math, science, and tech teachers. H.R. 363 establishes grants for outstanding researchers at the beginning of their careers, and creates a national office to asses and prioritize national research infrastructure needs.

To maintain our innovative edge in the world today, America must invest in the infrastructure of success. This Congress has committed itself to making those investments. Today this Democratic-led Congress will begin by investing in a new generation of innovators, who will lead the way to a bright and prosperous future for us all.