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House Democrats introduce bill to invest $900 billion in STEM research and education

House Democrats introduce bill to invest $900 billion in STEM research and education
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election MORE (D-Calif.) and several other House Democrats introduced legislation on Tuesday to invest in and train a technologically proficient workforce for the future.

The 21st Century Jobs Act would invest $900 billion over ten years in research and development efforts around emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and biotechnology, along with prioritizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

It would establish a Federal Institute of Technology (FIT) that would be spread out across the nation at 30 different locations including existing educational facilities, along with promoting STEM education in public schools. 

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Specifically, the bill would help fund computer science courses for K-12 students, carve out scholarships for those pursuing degrees in the STEM fields, allocate $8 billion to train teachers in STEM fields, and create tax incentives for companies to hire individuals who attended a FIT institution or received a STEM scholarship in order to diversify the talent field. 

According to a summary of the bill, it would ultimately create around 3 million new jobs per year, and significantly raise public investment in research and development, helping the U.S. keep pace with other nations on the international stage. 

The bill is also sponsored by Democratic Reps. Nanette Barragán (Calif.), Suzan DelBeneSuzan Kay DelBeneHouse Democrats run late ads defending vulnerable DCCC chair House Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Democrats sense momentum for expanding child tax credit MORE (Wash.), Dwight EvansDwight (Dewey) EvansHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Will the next coronavirus relief package leave essential workers behind? Bipartisan GROCER Act would give tax break to frontline workers MORE (Penn.), Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesDemocrats debate fate of Trump probes if Biden wins House Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Overnight Defense: Pentagon IG to audit use of COVID-19 funds on contractors | Dems optimistic on blocking Trump's Germany withdrawal | Obama slams Trump on foreign policy MORE (Conn.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Trump, attorneys step up efforts to reverse election's outcome AOC, progressive Dems attack corporate greed during health care discussion MORE (Wash.) Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Now's the time to make 'Social Emotional Learning' a national priority Mourners gather outside Supreme Court after passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg MORE (Ohio) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Radiation elevated at fracking sites, researchers find Hopes for DC, Puerto Rico statehood rise MORE (Fla.), as well as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonTrump tells GSA that Biden transition can begin Hillicon Valley: Leadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns | Snapchat launches in-app video platform 'Spotlight' | Uber, Lyft awarded federal transportation contract Democrats accuse GSA of undermining national security by not certifying Biden win MORE (D-Miss.).

Several former Democratic tech-related officials endorsed the bill on Tuesday, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit Protect our world: How the Biden administration can save lives and economies worldwide MORE’s former chief economist Jared Bernstein, who said in a statement that “we’ve got tremendous international catch-up to do in this space, and this proposal is the first I’ve seen that’s scaled to the magnitude of the challenge.”

“Ro Khanna’s 21st Century Jobs Package is advancing an important, ambitious agenda that would both increase economic growth and also help more people benefit from that growth,” Jason FurmanJason FurmanFormer Treasury secretaries from both parties call for immediate COVID-19 relief deal Economists call for more stimulus checks House Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education MORE, a professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard University and the former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Obama administration, said in a separate statement.

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“Khanna’s proposal would unleash the largest race to the top in American history as areas around the country compete not to provide tax benefits for private companies but instead to improve education, infrastructure, housing, and the climate for local innovation and development,” Furman added. 

Investment in developing technologies and in STEM education and workforce has been a rare topic of bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Sens. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHouse Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost cybersecurity of local governments, small businesses MORE (D-Nev.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) introduced legislation in September to provide $50 million to help small and medium-sized businesses hire and train professionals in the STEM field, particularly those who are female, Black or Latino or from rural areas.

A bipartisan group of senators led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.) introduced a separate bill in May that would funnel $100 billion over five years into U.S. science and technology research. 

The Trump administration has also zeroed in on promoting investment in emerging science and technology fields. 

The U.S. and the United Kingdom signed a formal agreement last month to promote cooperation on AI development, while the administration announced in August it would funnel over $1 billion over the next five years into funding new research institutes focused on AI and quantum computing development.