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House Clears America Competes Reauthorization

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that reauthorizes the America COMPETES Act, which promotes basic research and programs geared toward enhancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and other measures designed to boost U.S. innovation. The bill reauthorizes the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, and the Energy Department's Office of Science research programs.

The American COMPETES Act will fund the development of STEM education programs in addition to establishing an inter-organizational STEM education coordination committee. The bill also creates a Commerce Department program that provides guaranteed loans to small and medium-sized companies for the use or production of innovative technologies.

"If we are to reverse the trend of the last 20 years, during which our country's technological edge in the world has diminished, we must make the investments necessary today," says Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN).

The bill also contains provisions that direct the president to develop a national competitiveness and innovation strategy. The bill has already passed the Senate and is expected to be signed by President Obama.

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