Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (04/25/2007)

America COMPETES Act or America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act - Division A: Commerce and Science - American Innovation and Competitiveness Act - Title I: Office of Science and Technology Policy; Government-Wide Science - (Sec. 1101) Directs the President to: (1) convene a National Science and Technology Summit to examine the health and direction of the United States' science, technology, engineering, and mathematics enterprises; and (2) issue a report on Summit results. Requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to report annually to Congress on recommendations for areas of investment for federal research and technology programs.

(Sec. 1102) Requires the: (1) OSTP Director to contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct and complete a study to identify, and review methods to mitigate, new forms of risk for businesses beyond conventional operational and financial risk that affect the ability to innovate; and (2) NAS to report study results to Congress. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 1103) Amends the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 to rename the National Technology Medal established under such Act the National Technology and Innovation Medal.

(Sec. 1104) Requires the OSTP Director to develop and issue a set of principles to ensure the communication and open exchange of data and results to other agencies, policymakers, and the public of research conducted by a scientist employed by a federal civilian agency and to prevent the intentional or unintentional suppression or distortion of such research findings.

(Sec. 1105) Expresses the sense of Congress that the OSTP Director should: (1) encourage all elementary and middle schools to observe a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Day twice in every school year; (2) initiate a program to encourage federal employees with scientific, technological, engineering, or mathematical skills to interact with school children on such Days; and (3) promote involvement in such Days by appropriate private sector and institution of higher education employees.

(Sec. 1106) Expresses the sense of Congress that the federal government should better understand and respond strategically to the emerging management and learning discipline known as service science. Requires the OSTP Director to study and report to Congress on ways the federal government could support service science through research, education, and training.

Title II: Innovation Promotion - (Sec. 1201) Directs the President to establish a President's Council on Innovation and Competitiveness to undertake various activities for promoting innovation and competitiveness in the United States, measure progress in such promotion, and report annually to the President and Congress on such progress. Requires the NAS to submit to the President a list of 50 recommended advisors to such Council.

(Sec. 1202) Directs the President to: (1) establish the Innovation Acceleration Research Program to support and promote innovation in the United States through research projects; and (2) ensure that it is the goal of each executive agency that finances research in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology to allocate approximately 8% of that agency's total annual research and development (R&D) funding to research under the Program.

Title III: National Aeronautics and Space Administration - (Sec. 1301) Requires that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) be a full participant in any interagency effort to promote innovation and economic competitiveness through near- and long-term basic scientific R&D and the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Requires an annual report from the NASA Administrator to Congress and the President on promotional activities conducted.

(Sec. 1302) Directs the NASA Administrator to establish an Aeronautics Institute for Research for managing NASA aeronautics research.

(Sec. 1303) Requires the NASA Administrator, the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Secretaries of Energy, Defense, and Commerce to coordinate basic and fundamental research activities related to physical sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Directs the NASA Administrator, in order to effectuate such coordination, to establish a Basic Research Executive Council to oversee the distribution and management of NASA programs and resources engaged in support of basic research activity.

(Sec. 1304) Expresses the sense of Congress that the NASA Administrator should implement a program to address aging workforce issues in aerospace that: (1) documents technical and management experiences before senior people leave NASA; (2) provides incentives for retirees to return and teach new employees about such experiences; and (3) provides for development of an award to recognize outstanding senior employees for their contributions to knowledge sharing.

(Sec. 1306) Directs the NASA Administrator to increase funding for FY2008 for basic science and research, including for the Explorer Program, through transfer from other NASA accounts.

Title IV: National Institute of Standards and Technology - (Sec. 1401) Authorizes appropriations to the Secretary of Commerce for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program.

(Sec. 1402) Amends the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 to repeal provisions establishing the Technology Administration within the Department of Commerce.

(Sec. 1403) Requires the NIST Director to: (1) establish the Standards and Technology Acceleration Research Program to support and promote innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research; (2) set aside for such Program no less than 8% of the funds available to NIST each year; and (3) issue an annual report on Program activities.

(Sec. 1404) Amends the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act to require that a Manufacturing Center that has not received a positive evaluation shall be notified of the deficiencies in its performance and placed on probation for one year, after which an evaluation panel shall reevaluate such Center. Authorizes the acceptance of funds from other federal departments and agencies and the private sector for the purpose of strengthening U.S. manufacturing.

(Sec. 1405) Requires the NIST Director to: (1) reestablish the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Technology to strengthen the technological competitiveness of states that have historically received less federal R&D funds than the majority of the states; and (2) report to specified congressional committees on such Program.

(Sec. 1407) Amends the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act to generally revise provisions concerning eligible contributions for the financial support of regional centers responsible for implementing the objectives of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program.

Title V: Ocean and Atmospheric Programs - (Sec. 1501) Directs the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish a program of ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, and atmospheric R&D, in collaboration with academic institutions and other nongovernmental entities, to focus on the development of advanced technologies and methods to promote U.S. leadership in ocean and atmospheric science as well as competitiveness in applied uses of such R&D.

(Sec. 1502) Requires the NOAA Administrator to: (1) conduct, develop, support, promote, and coordinate educational activities to enhance public awareness and understanding of ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, and atmospheric science and stewardship by the general public and other coastal stakeholders; and (2) develop a 20-year ocean, coastal, and atmospheric science education plan.

(Sec. 1503) Requires that NOAA be a full participant in any interagency effort to promote innovation and economic competitiveness through basic scientific R&D and the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

(Sec. 1504) Requires the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce to conduct routine, independent reviews of activities carried out with NOAA grants or other financial assistance. Outlines provisions prohibiting conflicts of interests in the use of such financial assistance.

Division B: Department of Energy - Protecting America's Competitive Edge Through Energy Act or PACE-Energy Act - (Sec. 2003) Amends the Department of Energy Science Education Enhancement Act to require the Secretary of Energy (Secretary, for purposes of this Division) to appoint a Director of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education (MSEE) to administer mathematics, science, and engineering education at the Department of Energy (DOE). Authorizes appropriations. Requires the Secretary to establish a Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education Fund.

Directs the Secretary to award grants to states for establishing or expanding public, statewide specialty schools for mathematics and science. Requires the MSEE Director to make funds available for a program using scientific and engineering staff of DOE national laboratories to: (1) assist teachers in teaching courses at schools funded under the program; (2) use national laboratory scientific equipment in teaching the courses; and (3) use distance education and other technologies in providing assistance to such schools. Limits to 50% the federal share of program costs. Allows funds to be used only for activities directly related to improving student academic achievement in mathematics, science, technology, and engineering. Requires: (1) states receiving assistance to carry out an evaluation and accountability plan for the use of such funds, and to report such evaluation and plan to the MSEE Director; and (2) the MSEE Director to report to the appropriate congressional committees on the impact of such activities. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary to establish a summer internship program of at least two weeks for middle and secondary school students that: (1) provides students with internships at national laboratories; and (2) promotes hands-on learning in mathematics, science, technology, or engineering. Provides intern selection priorities, including students from low-income families.

Directs the Secretary to establish outreach and experiential-based learning programs that encourage underrepresented minority students in kindergarten through grade 12 to pursue careers in mathematics, science, and engineering. Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the Secretary to establish at each of the national laboratories a program to support a Center of Excellence in Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Engineering at one high-need public secondary school in the area. Requires the MSEE Director to make funds available for a program using scientific and engineering staff at the national laboratories to: (1) assist teachers in teaching courses at such Centers; and (2) use national laboratory scientific equipment in teaching the courses. Requires the MSEE Director to develop an evaluation and accountability plan for activities funded under the program.

Directs the Secretary to establish or expand programs of summer institutes at each of the national laboratories to provide additional training to strengthen the mathematics, science, technology, and engineering skills of teachers employed at public schools for kindergarten through grade 12. Requires the Secretary to provide assistance to eligible partners (the mathematics, science, or engineering departments at institutions of higher education in the area) to participate in such program. Requires the: (1) MSEE Director to develop an evaluation and accountability plan for activities funded under the program; and (2) Secretary to report annually to Congress on the impact of the program. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary to establish a program to expand and enhance higher education nuclear science educational capabilities through the award of up to three grants per fiscal year to higher education institutions that partner with a national laboratory or other eligible nuclear-related entity. Authorizes such grants for five years at up to $1 million per year. Directs the Secretary to award up to ten grants per fiscal year to higher education institutions with existing academic degree programs that produce graduates in nuclear science. Authorizes such grants for five years at up to $500,000 per year. Authorizes appropriations for the grant programs.

Requires the MSEE Director to establish a program to recruit and provide mentors for women and underrepresented minorities who are interested in careers in mathematics, science, and engineering. Directs the Secretary to annually: (1) evaluate program success; and (2) report evaluation results to Congress.

Directs the Secretary to provide grants to states for establishing or expanding programs to enhance the quality of science education in elementary schools with respect to conventional and emerging energy sources and uses. Limits to 50% the federal share of program costs. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 2004) Requires the Secretary to award not less than 65 grants per year to outstanding early-career researchers to support their work in DOE, particularly at national laboratories, or at other federally-funded R&D centers. Authorizes such grants for five years at up to $100,000 per year. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 2005) Directs the Secretary to establish an Advanced Research Projects Authority-Energy, headed by a Director, to overcome the long-term and high-risk technological barriers to the development of energy technologies. Requires the Secretary to establish an Advisory Board to make recommendations to the Secretary and the Director. Requires NAS to conduct two reviews of actions taken under this section, and to report review results to Congress, the Secretary, and the Director. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 2006) Amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to increase and extend through FY2012 the authorization of appropriations for basic research.

(Sec. 2007) Requires the Secretary to establish multidisciplinary institutes centered at national laboratories to apply fundamental science and engineering discoveries to technological innovations related to missions of DOE and the global competitiveness of the United States. Requires, under the program, the establishing of partnerships between the institutes and institutions of higher education, private industry, state and local governments, and financing entities for technology commercialization. Allows up to three institutes to receive grants in a fiscal year. Requires NAS to review institutes' performance and report review results to Congress. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 2008) Directs the Secretary to establish a graduate fellowship program for students pursuing a doctoral degree in a DOE mission area. Limits fellowships to five years. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 2009) Directs the Secretary to report to the congressional energy committees on DOE actions taken to implement the recommendations in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report numbered 04-639 (concerning compliance with title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972). Requires the Secretary to conduct annual reviews of at least two recipients of DOE grants concerning such compliance.

(Sec. 2010) Requires the Secretary and the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey to each conduct a grant program to encourage the conduct of high-risk, high-reward research at their respective agencies.

(Sec. 2011) Directs the Secretary to establish a program to support the joint appointment of distinguished scientists by higher education institutions and national laboratories. Makes such appointments for six years. Requires appointing institutions to pay at least 50% of appointment costs. Authorizes appropriations.

Division C: Education - Title I: Teacher Assistance - Subtitle A: Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow - (Sec. 3113) Authorizes the Secretary of Education (Secretary, for purposes of this Division) to award grants to enable educational partnerships to develop and implement programs to provide courses of study in mathematics, science, engineering or critical foreign languages that: (1) are integrated with teacher education; and (2) lead to a baccalaureate degree with concurrent teacher certification. Requires an annual activities report from each recipient to the Secretary.

(Sec. 3114) Authorizes the Secretary to award grants to educational partnerships to develop and implement: (1) two- or three-year part-time master's degree programs in mathematics, science, technology, or critical foreign language education for teachers in order to enhance the teacher's content knowledge and teaching skills; or (2) programs in mathematics, science, technology, or critical foreign language that lead to a one-year master's degree in teaching that results in teacher certification. Requires an annual activities report from each recipient to the Secretary.

(Sec. 3115) Directs the Secretary to award each of the above grants for up to five years. Requires 50% non-federal matching funds. Requires: (1) an annual independent evaluation of activities assisted under this Subtitle; and (2) an annual report from the Secretary to specified congressional committees on evaluation results.

(Sec. 3116) Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle B: Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs - (Sec. 3123) Authorizes the Secretary to award grants for up to five-year periods to enable educational agencies or partnerships to carry out activities designed to increase the number of: (1) qualified teachers serving high-needs (low-income or rural area) schools who are teaching advanced placement or international baccalaureate courses in mathematics, science, or critical foreign languages; and (2) students attending such schools who enroll in and pass the examinations for such courses. Requires: (1) each recipient to report annually to the Secretary on grant results; and (2) the Secretary to conduct an independent evaluation of the program and report evaluation results to specified congressional committees.

Subtitle C: Promising Practices in Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Engineering Teaching - (Sec. 3131) Authorizes the Secretary to contract with NAS to convene a national panel to identify promising practices in the teaching of mathematics, science, technology, and engineering in kindergarten through grade 12. Requires the dissemination of information collected by the panel to the public and state and local educational agencies. Authorizes appropriations.

Title II: Mathematics - (Sec. 3201) Authorizes the Secretary to award grants for up to five-year periods to local educational agencies (LEAs), via states, to: (1) implement mathematics programs or initiatives that are research-based; (2) provide professional development and instructional leadership activities for teachers and administrators on the implementation of mathematics initiatives; and (3) conduct student mathematics progress monitoring and identify areas in which students need help in learning mathematics. Requires: (1) state grantees to contribute 50% of program costs; (2) state grantees to report annually to the Secretary on grant results; and (3) the Secretary to conduct an independent evaluation of the programs and report evaluation results to specified congressional committees. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 3202) Directs the Secretary to carry out a demonstration program in which the Secretary awards grants to states for the federal share of summer learning grants for eligible students. Allows up to five grants per fiscal year. Limits to 50% the federal share of such grants. Requires: (1) the educational entities operating summer programs to report annually to the Secretary on activities and outcomes of each summer learning opportunity that enrolled a summer scholar; (2) the Secretary to report annually during the grant period to the education committees on the grant program; and (3) the Secretary to make accessible, on the Department of Education website, information for summer learning opportunities. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 3203) Authorizes appropriations for a four-year period during which the Secretary shall establish a program that provides grants to states, and through them, subgrants to LEAs for establishing mathematics programs to improve the overall mathematics performance of secondary school students. Provides: (1) a minimum grant amount of $500,000; and (2) a state matching funds requirement of 50% of program costs. Requires state grantees to report annually to the Secretary on grant results.

Title III: Foreign Language Partnership Program - (Sec. 3303) Authorizes the Secretary to award grants to enable partnerships to establish programs of study in critical foreign languages that will enable students to advance successfully from elementary school through postsecondary education and achieve higher levels of proficiency in such language. Makes such grants for five-year periods, authorizing the Secretary to renew grants for up to two additional five-year periods. Outlines matching funds requirements. Directs the Secretary to report program evaluation results to specified congressional committees annually during the grant period.

(Sec. 3304) Authorizes appropriations.

Title IV: Alignment of Education Programs - (Sec. 3401) Authorizes the Secretary to award grants to enable states to work with a statewide partnership to: (1) promote better alignment of content knowledge requirements of secondary school graduation with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education, the 21st century workforce, or the Armed Forces; or (2) to establish or improve a statewide P-16 (preschool through baccalaureate degree) education data system. Requires each state to match grant fund amounts. Authorizes appropriations.

Title V: Mathematics and Science Partnership Bonus Grants - (Sec. 3501) Directs the Secretary to award grants, during school years 2007-2008 through 2010-2011, to each of the three elementary and three secondary schools with a high concentration of low-income students in each state whose students demonstrate the most improvement in mathematics and science, respectively.

(Sec. 3502) Authorizes appropriations.

Division D: National Science Foundation - (Sec. 4001) Authorizes appropriations for FY2008-FY2011 to the NSF. Requires the NSF Director to submit to specified congressional committees a comprehensive, multiyear plan that describes how such authorized funds, if appropriated, would be used.

(Sec. 4002) Earmarks funds for NSF education and human resources programs for FY2008-FY2011.

(Sec. 4003) Requires the NSF Director, during the four-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, to expand the NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program so that an additional 1,250 fellowships are awarded during such period to U.S. citizens, nationals, or lawful permanent residents. Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the NSF Director, during the same period, to expand the NSF's Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program so that an additional 1,250 U.S. citizens, nationals, or lawful permanent residents are awarded grants during such period. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 4004) Requires the NSF Director to establish a clearinghouse, in collaboration with four-year institutions of higher education, industries, and federal agencies that employ science-trained personnel, to share program elements used in successful professional science master's degree programs and other advanced degree programs related to science, mathematics, technology, and engineering. Requires the Director to award four-year grants to such institutions of higher education to facilitate their creation or improvement of professional science master's degree programs. Allows the Director to award up to 200 of such grants, which shall be for a three-year period, with one authorized renewal for an additional two-year period. Requires the Director to evaluate the program and report evaluation results to Congress. Earmarks funds for such grants.

(Sec. 4005) Earmarks funds to carry out the science, mathematics, engineering, and technology talent expansion program under the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002. Provides for program outreach.

(Sec. 4006) Requires the NSF Director to: (1) consider the degree to which NSF-eligible awards and research activities may assist in meeting critical national needs in innovation, competitiveness, the physical and natural sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and (2) give priority in the selection of NSF awards, research resources, and grants to entities that can be expected to make contributions in such fields.

(Sec. 4007) Prohibits anything in Divisions A or D of this Act from being construed to alter or modify the NSF merit-review system or peer-review process.

(Sec. 4008) Earmarks funds for FY2008-FY2011 for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research under the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 1988.

(Sec. 4009) Requires the NSF Director to: (1) establish a program to recruit and provide mentors for women interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; (2) establish a program to provide grants to community colleges to provide additional learning and training to allow women to enter higher-paying technical jobs in fields related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics; and (3) evaluate such programs and report annually to Congress on evaluation results.

(Sec. 4010) Requires the NSF Director to develop and publish a plan describing the current status for broadband access for scientific research purposes in states located in EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) eligible jurisdictions and outlines actions to ensure that such connections are available to participate in NSF programs which rely heavily on high-speed networking and collaborations across institutions and regions.

(Sec. 4011) Requires the NSF Director to: (1) establish a grant program of basic research in advanced information and communications technologies focused on enhancing or facilitating the availability and affordability of advanced communications services to all people of the United States; and (2) establish a Federal Advanced Information and Communications Technology Research Board to aid and advise with respect to such efforts. Requires, as part of such grants, the establishment of multidisciplinary Centers for Communications Research. Earmarks funds for such purposes.

(Sec. 4012) Amends the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 concerning the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program to: (1) rename such Program the Robert Noyce Teacher Program; and (2) require the NSF Director to develop and implement a program to recruit and prepare mathematics, science, or engineering professionals to become NSF Teaching Fellows, and to recruit existing teachers to become NSF Master Teaching Fellows. Requires a 50% matching funds requirement from non-federal sources. Increases Program stipend amounts. Requires Teaching Fellows to serve for four years, and Master Teaching Fellows to serve five years, in a high-need LEA. Requires the NSF Director to report to Congress on program effectiveness. Earmarks funds for the Program.

(Sec. 4013) Expresses the sense of the Senate that the NSF Director and the Secretary of Education should have ongoing collaboration to ensure that their respective mathematics and science partnership programs continue to work in concert (and not duplicatively) for the benefit of states and local practitioners.

(Sec. 4014) Earmarks funds for FY2008-FY2011 for the NSF Teacher Institutes for the 21st Century program under the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002. Provides additional Program requirements.

(Sec. 4015) Requires the NSF Director to establish the Partnerships for Access to Laboratory Science pilot program to award grants to partnerships to pay the federal share of costs of improving laboratories and providing instrumentation as part of a comprehensive program to enhance the quality of mathematics, science, engineering, and technology instruction at the secondary school level. Requires the Director to: (1) evaluate the effectiveness of activities carried out under the pilot program; and (2) report evaluation results to specified congressional committees. Terminates the pilot program at the beginning of FY2012. Authorizes appropriations.

Division E: General Provisions - (Sec. 5001) Directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a program within the Bureau of Economic Analysis to collect and study data relating to the export and import of services. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 5002) Expresses the sense of the Senate that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board should complete promulgation of the final rules implementing section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (concerning auditing standards and their effect on small and mid-sized businesses).

(Sec. 5003) Directs the Comptroller General, within three years after enactment of this Act, to report to Congress assessing, and recommending improvements to, activities, grants, and programs carried out under this Act.

(Sec. 5004) Prohibits federal funds from being provided to any organization or entity that advocates against tax competition or U.S. tax competitiveness.

(Sec. 5005) Directs the Secretary of Commerce to contract with the NAS to conduct and complete a feasibility study on creating a national, free online college degree program that would be available to all individuals eligible for student loan assistance under the Higher Education Act of 1965 who wish to pursue a degree in a field of strategic importance to the United States and where expertise is in demand, such as mathematics, sciences, and foreign languages. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 5006) Expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) government policies related to deemed exports should safeguard U.S. national security and protect fundamental research; (2) the Department of Commerce has established the Deemed Export Advisory Committee to develop recommendations for improving current controls on deemed exports; and (3) the Administration and Congress should consider the Committee's recommendations in its development and implementation of export control policy.

(Sec. 5007) Expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) Congress, the President, regulators, industry leaders, and other stakeholders should take necessary steps to reclaim the preeminent U.S. position in the global financial services marketplace; (2) federal and state financial regulatory agencies should take certain steps to avoid adverse consequences on innovation with respect to financial products and services, and regulatory costs that are disproportionate to their benefits; and (3) Congress should exercise vigorous oversight over federal regulatory and statutory requirements affecting the financial services industry and consumers.