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House Fails STEM Bill

Legislation aimed at retaining foreign students who earn advanced science and engineering degrees in the United States is rejected by Congress.

By | September 21, 2012

image: House Fails STEM Bill US Congress on Capitol Hill, Washington DCWikimedia, Bjoertvedt

The H.R. 6429 bill would have been a boon to science, as well as the economy, experts said. It would have created a new visa category for foreign students with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM), allowing them to stay in the country after finishing school, continuing to contribute to US-based innovation and technology advances. But the House of Representatives disagreed, voting the bill down with 257 votes for and 158 votes against—20 votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority.

“Under the current system, we educate scientists and engineers only to send them back home where they often work for our competitors,” said the bill’s chief sponsor, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), during debate on the measure, according to ScienceInsider. But many Democrats objected to provisions in the Republican-backed plan, arguing that the bill discriminated against foreign families trying to join their relatives who have already established permanent resident status.

“Democrats strongly support STEM visas, and we believe there is a unique opportunity here to craft a balanced, bipartisan bill that can pass the Senate,” Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who has introduced a similar bill, said in a statement to colleagues before yesterday’s vote. “But the Republicans have instead chosen to rush a partisan bill that has no chance of becoming law to score political points."

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Comments

Avatar of: Jefferson Santos

Jefferson Santos

Posts: 2

September 21, 2012

Tell me something new about republicans in the congress!!!

Avatar of: steinp2

steinp2

Posts: 33

September 21, 2012

Click on the blue "boon to science" and read the comments from Bill and David Hill. They are right on. Anyone going to any major science conference nowadays can see the massive attendance and participation of foreign Ph. D. students and post-doctorates. For a very limited number of STEM jobs here in the U.S. nowadays, these people have moved from a status of colleagues to competitors. Everyone knows why the vast majority of them are here in the first place. They pay full tuition. Universities only see money. All of these university administrators blindly focus on the same thing, 100% tuition payments and no stipends necessary to give away, and then they get free slave labor. Just because these students get accepted to be exploited doesn't make them the "best and brightest". To their credit the universities do accept excellent U.S. citizen students and offer them the correct benefits. Even then, there is such an oversupply of STEM graduates that only 15 to 20% eventually get academic positions and the rest struggle to find any industrial or other alternative positions out there. Passage of this bill would have totally devastated the current poor employment scene.

Paul Stein

Avatar of: steinp2

steinp2

Posts: 33

September 22, 2012

It seems like more people dislike my comment than like it. Please explain why. For those who wish to speak about either the advantage to America of bringing brainpower in and what the brainpower can do for the U.S., or the unfairness of kicking all these people out, or how by going back to their homelands this hurts the U.S. competitively, I have immediate counterarguments at hand for each. So, man or woman up.

Paul Stein

Avatar of: Scientist

Scientist

Posts: 1

September 22, 2012

I would say there is more of an oversupply of liberal arts and business degrees than science degrees. But as you mention, if the people coming in from foreign countries aren't the "best and brightest", then the other US citizens shouldn't have a problem outcompeting them for the academic position or industrial job. It seems like you just want the people who grow up in America to compete within themselves rather than the rest of the globe. That would be like instead of having a world cup in soccer where the best teams get to compete against each other, you make it an american cup and keep other global talent out of the competition. I don't get it, are you against having this country keep more talent and increase diversity or just plain scared to compete? The Americans I know welcome competition, it brings the best out of people.

Avatar of: Bob

Bob

Posts: 1

September 24, 2012

Sad to say that you are probably right on. Almost everything today is about the money. Not that it probably always was (I'm not a communist) anyway, but it has gotten to be rather blatant. But, hey.... that's just my opinion.

Avatar of: amaz

amaz

Posts: 2

September 24, 2012

STEM bill was centered on IT professionals. Does not include Medical, biology etc fields. It was sponsored by industry (Microsoft, Google etc).

I am very happy it did not pass.
More details on it here,
http://judiciary.house.gov/new...

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