House passes bills on technology, science

One bill seeks to develop international cooperation

The House has approved legislation that would establish a committee to coordinate international science and technology cooperation across federal agencies and another bill that seeks to coordinate federal math and science education activities.

The International Science and Technology Cooperation Act would create the committee under the National Science and Technology Council. The vote was 351-52.

“Science diplomacy presents a unique and essential opportunity to develop and sustain friendships and collaborations into the future,” said Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), the bill’s author and chairman of the Science and Technology Committee's Energy and Environment Subcommittee. “The exchange of scientists and their students help to build mutual trust and understanding between people who may otherwise be inclined to avoid or even fear each other.”

The legislation states that the new panel will plan and coordinate cooperative research and training partnerships, establish federal policies for aligning research and training with partners from other countries, identify opportunities for new partnerships, solicit input from non-federal stakeholders, report to Congress, and address broad issues that affect collaboration.

The House also approved the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coordination Act of 2009, sponsored by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), chairman of the Science and Technology Committee.

The STEM act would create an interagency committee under the National Science and Technology Council to coordinate education programs, assist in their evaluation and disseminate information about them more broadly.

The STEM act would coordinate education activities conducted by the Defense, Energy and Education departments; NASA; the National Science Foundation; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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