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: Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes | Biden EPA to reconsider Trump rollback on power plant pollution in 2022 | How climate change and human beings influence wildfires Democrats request interview with Exxon lobbyist after undercover tapes Progressive fighting turns personal on internal call over antitrust bills 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. 


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 DelBeneBiden's keeping the Canada-US border closed makes no sense Biden administration stokes frustration over Canada Reducing compliance burdens for the beauty industry MORE (Wash.), Dwight EvansDwight (Dewey) EvansGroup launches first national ad campaign to celebrate America's 250th anniversary Cornyn is most prolific tweeter in Congress so far in 2021 Six ways to visualize a divided America MORE (Penn.), Jim HimesJames (Jim) Andres HimesMcCarthy pulls GOP picks off House economic panel Pelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality House panel spars over GameStop frenzy, trading apps MORE (Conn.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalCongress must lower the Medicare Age to save the lives of older Americans House Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Schumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy MORE (Wash.) Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanHouse passes spending bill to boost Capitol Police and Hill staffer pay Tim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections MORE (Ohio) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoBiden signs bill to designate the National Pulse Memorial in Orlando Puerto Rico's former governor stages a comeback Pulse nightclub to become a national memorial 5 years after deadly mass shooting MORE (Fla.), as well as House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonBudowsky: Liz Cheney, a Reagan Republican, and Pelosi, Ms. Democrat, seek Jan. 6 truth The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger MORE (D-Miss.).

Several former Democratic tech-related officials endorsed the bill on Tuesday, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot 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 FurmanBiden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks GOP seeks to make Biden synonymous with inflation Facebook antitrust victory poses big test for new FTC chief 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.


“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 RosenWestern US airports face jet fuel shortage Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor The Hill's Morning Report - Biden renews families plan pitch; Senate prepares to bring infrastructure package to floor 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 SchumerBiden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy Pelosi, Schumer vow climate action: 'It is an imperative' 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.