by Congressman Erik Paulsen
STEM Jobs Act: Retaining the World’s Brightest
The United States leads the world with the best universities, attracting the smartest scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs from across the globe. But many of those who graduate with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math—or “STEM” fields—are foreign students who return to their home countries and start new businesses and invent new technologies. Nearly four out of every ten master’s degrees awarded in STEM fields are earned by foreign students. It makes no sense to educate these students here and then send them back home to work for our competitors.
This week, the House voted to reform the immigration system to keep some of the world’s best and brightest in the United States to help boost U.S. job creation and economic growth. The bill—the STEM Jobs Act—does not increase immigration, but instead shifts the eligibility and preference for green cards to foreign students who have lived and earned their advanced degrees in the United States. This will help the United States retain our educational and economic leadership in an ever increasing global economy.
Preserving Welfare Work Requirements
A historic bipartisan achievement occurred in 1996 when a Republican Congress and a Democrat President enacted welfare reform that made work a central tenant of helping low-income families become self-sufficient. Individuals were required to work, prepare for work, or look for work in order to receive benefits. Welfare reform was successful, decreasing the number of welfare recipients by 57% and lowering the poverty rate among single mothers by 30%.
Yet, despite moving millions of Americans off government dependency and into a job, welfare reform is under attack. The Department of Health and Human Services wants to allow states to be exempt from work requirements, unwinding years of progress in moving families from welfare to work.
I do not believe we should roll back such critical features of welfare reform. The House acted Friday with a bipartisan vote to block the administration from implementing its plan to waive the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law.
Watch my floor remarks HERE.