"We are at a crucial crossroads in our nation's future," IEEE-USA President Ralph W. Wyndrum Jr. said in response to the initiative. "The United States can no longer take for granted the competitive edge that our scientific and technological capabilities have provided us in the past. The President's remarks indicate that he understands this, and plans to take definitive steps towards protecting and preserving our global leadership in innovation and competitiveness."
President Bush mentioned several key proposals Tuesday that IEEE-USA endorses, including doubling federal spending on basic physical science and engineering research over the next 10 years; permanently extending the research and development tax credit; and significantly improving math, science and technological education in our nation's schools. Similar bipartisan legislation addressing American competitiveness has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. Sens. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) introduced the "Protecting America's Competitive Edge (PACE) Act" last week; and Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) introduced the National Innovation Act in December.
IEEE-USA has endorsed both the PACE Act and National Innovation Act, and continues to offer guidance and counsel to Senate staff as the bills work their way through Congress.
According to the White House, the American Competitiveness Initiative commits $5.9 billion in FY 2007 and more than $136 billion over 10 years. Other key points include encouraging up to 30,000 math and science professionals to become adjunct high school teachers; fostering a business environment to encourage entrepreneurship and protect intellectual property; and providing self-managed Career Advancement Accounts of up to $3,000 that workers and prospective workers can use for training and other employment services.
For more on the American Competitiveness Initiative, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/01/20060131-5.html.
IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 220,000 engineers, scientists and allied professionals who are U.S. members of the IEEE. IEEE-USA is part of the IEEE, the world's largest technical professional society with 360,000 members in 150 countries. For more information, go to http://www.ieeeusa.org.
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