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America COMPETES Act due for vote in House; SPIE leadership urge support

07 May 2010

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- A vote on the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 may come as early as next Wednesday, May 13, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The reauthorization bill lays the basis for sustained funding increases in science, engineering, and technology resources for three key agencies: the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science, and the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The COMPETES act received strong bipartisan support when it was originally passed in 2007 from those who saw a direct relation between federal R&D investments and job creation, global competitiveness, innovation, STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math) education, and national security.

"Reauthorization of the COMPETES act is an important step in assuring a vibrant tech-based industry and a high standard of living for our country," said M.J. Soileau, Chair of the SPIE Engineering, Science, and Technology Policy Committee, which has taken a position in support of the bill. "If you yourself support this legislation, contact your Member of the House and make your opinion known."

"SPIE believes that reauthorizing COMPETES will strengthen the economy through investments in STEM education and funding for three important science agencies," said SPIE President Ralph James in a letter last month to Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Chair of the House Science and Technology Committee. "It is extremely important to have a reliable source of funding for these research programs in order to realize the innovations that will drive prosperity, meet global challenges in energy and other areas, and advance science and engineering."

For specific details about what the COMPETES bill would do for the nation's science, engineering and technology infrastructure and workforce, see http://spie.org/x31481.xml.

Instructions for contacting Members of the House of Representatives by email are at: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.

SPIE , the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 188,000 constituents from 138 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world. In Europe, SPIE supports the optics and photonics community by acting as an advocate and liaison to political and industry associations.

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