Looking Ahead: House Majority Leader Seeks Common Ground on Education and Basic Research

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Publication date: 
15 December 2010

House  Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) addressed the National Press Club on  Monday.  In his remarks on the 2010  election and the economy, Hoyer spoke of finding common ground between the  parties on “investing in outstanding education and basic research.”  Hoyer also referred to the reauthorization of  the America COMPETES bill and how it “unfortunately failed to win Republican  support in this Congress.”

Hoyer  will become the House Minority Whip when the new Congress convenes on January  5, 2011.   His remarks pertaining to  science and education are below.  These selections  are from a transcript prepared by and used with the permission of CQ Roll Call.

“Our  challenge then is to foster smart growth that lifts the middle class. And  whether we will reach that goal depends on whether we have the discipline to  make and sustain a long-term commitment to making things in America -- make it  in America -- and promoting science and education.      “If  we do have that discipline, we can find common ground on investing in  outstanding education and basic research. That's the kind that companies have  little economic incentive to perform on their own, but can turn even a  relatively small public commitment into enormous dividends -- and as we remind  ourselves, anytime we use the Internet, a computer mouse or GPS, all of which  were substantially enhanced by government investment in basic research.      “This  commitment should not be a partisan one. Even though the once bipartisan  science investments of the America COMPETES Act unfortunately failed to win  Republican support in this Congress, I am still hopeful that the partisan  equation can change now that Republicans share responsibility for our growth.

“That's  especially likely when Republican business allies remind them of the dismal  economic outlook for a country whose investment in research and development as  a fraction of the economy continues on a four-decade course of decline, a  country that has already falling behind Japan in patent applications and is on  pace to be overtaken by China as well, and a country whose K-12 math  achievement continues to rank toward the bottom of the developed world, 25th  out of 34 countries measured on a recent international assessment.      “That  is simply unacceptable. It should be an especially loud wake-up call to see  students in Chinese school systems significantly outpacing American students on  that same assessment, scoring 20 percent higher in math and 15 percent higher  in science.      “So  I'm hopeful that in the 112th Congress we'll see a stronger commitment to basic  research and to math and science education. I also believe we can find common  ground on education reform that builds on the successful Race to the Top  program to bring more accountability and data-driven results to our classrooms  while at the same time providing the necessary support to schools and teachers  educating our most at-risk population.      “This  kind of commitment to research and education is the foundation of a stronger,  more competitive middle class. It also is the foundation of real economic  growth and of the new jobs we need.”