MSI STEM ACHIEVEMENT ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 196
(House of Representatives - December 09, 2019)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Pages H9353-H9356]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                        MSI STEM ACHIEVEMENT ACT

  Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
pass the bill (H.R. 4372) to direct Federal science agencies and the 
Office of Science and Technology Policy to undertake activities to 
improve the quality of undergraduate STEM education and enhance the 
research capacity at the Nation's HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, and for other 
purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 4372

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``MSI STEM Achievement Act''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) Evidence suggests that the supply of STEM workers is 
     not keeping pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the 
     public and private sector, resulting in a deficit often 
     referred to as a STEM skills shortage.
       (2) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United 
     States will need one million additional STEM professionals 
     than it is on track to produce in the coming decade.
       (3) STEM occupations offer higher wages, more opportunities 
     for advancement, and a higher degree of job security than 
     non-STEM occupations.
       (4) The composition of the STEM workforce does not reflect 
     the current or projected diversity of the Nation, with 
     Hispanics, African Americans, and other racial and ethnic 
     minorities, significantly underrepresented in the STEM 
     workforce compared to their presence in the workforce more 
     generally.
       (5) A stronger national commitment to increasing the 
     diversity of the STEM workforce is needed to help address the 
     STEM skills shortage.
       (6) According to a 2019 National Academies of Sciences, 
     Engineering, and Medicine report entitled ``Minority Serving 
     Institutions: America's Underutilized Resource for 
     Strengthening the STEM Workforce'', two- and four-year 
     minority serving institutions enroll nearly 30 percent of all 
     undergraduate students--a percentage that is expected to grow 
     in the coming years--in the United States higher education 
     system and play a critical role in providing important 
     pathways to STEM-related education, training, and careers for 
     students of color.
       (7) HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs are highly successful at 
     educating underrepresented minority students in STEM fields 
     and can serve as best

[[Page H9354]]

     practice models for other colleges and universities to 
     further expand participation of underrepresented minorities 
     in the STEM workforce.
       (8) Increased investment in STEM infrastructure at HBCUs, 
     TCUs, and MSIs has the potential to increase these 
     institutions' ability to educate even more students in the 
     STEM disciplines.
       (9) With the demand for STEM skills exceeding the supply of 
     STEM graduates, success of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs in educating 
     and training science and engineering leaders is increasingly 
     important for United States economic growth and 
     competitiveness.

     SEC. 3. GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE REVIEW.

       Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this 
     Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall 
     report to Congress--
       (1) an inventory of competitive funding programs and 
     initiatives carried out by Federal science agencies that are 
     targeted to HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs or partnerships with HBCUs, 
     TCUs, and MSIs;
       (2) an assessment of Federal science agency outreach 
     activities to increase the participation and competitiveness 
     of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs in the funding programs and 
     initiatives identified in paragraph (1); and
       (3) recommendations of the Comptroller General to increase 
     the participation of and the rate of success of HBCUs, TCUs, 
     and MSIs in competitive funding programs offered by Federal 
     science agencies.

     SEC. 4. RESEARCH AND CAPACITY BUILDING.

       (a) In General.--The Director of the National Science 
     Foundation shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to 
     institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations 
     (or consortia thereof) to--
       (1) conduct research described in subsection (b) with 
     respect to HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs;
       (2) conduct activities described in subsection (c) to build 
     the capacity of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to graduate students 
     who are competitive in attaining and advancing in the STEM 
     workforce;
       (3) build the research capacity and competitiveness of 
     HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs in STEM disciplines; and
       (4) identify and broadly disseminate effective models for 
     programs and practices at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs that promote 
     the education and workforce preparation of minority students 
     pursuing STEM studies and careers in which such students are 
     underrepresented.
       (b) Research.--Research described in this subsection is 
     research on the contribution of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to the 
     education and training of underrepresented minority students 
     in STEM fields and to the meeting of national STEM workforce 
     needs, including--
       (1) the diversity with respect to local context, cultural 
     differences, and institutional structure among HBCUs, TCUs, 
     and MSIs and any associated impact on education and research 
     endeavors;
       (2) effective practices at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and 
     associated outcomes on student recruitment, retention, and 
     advancement in STEM fields, including the ability for 
     students to compete for fellowships, employment, and 
     advancement in the workforce;
       (3) contributions made by HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to local, 
     regional, and national workforces;
       (4) the unique challenges and opportunities for HBCUs, 
     TCUs, and MSIs in attaining the resources needed for 
     integrating effective practices in STEM education, including 
     providing research experiences for underrepresented minority 
     students;
       (5) the access of students at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to STEM 
     infrastructure and any associated outcomes for STEM 
     competency;
       (6) models of STEM curriculum, learning, and teaching 
     successful at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs for increasing 
     participation, retention, and success of underrepresented 
     minority students; and
       (7) successful or promising partnerships between HBCUs, 
     TCUs, and MSIs and other institutions of higher education, 
     private sector and non-profit organizations, Federal 
     laboratories, and international research institutions.
       (c) Capacity Building.--Activities described in this 
     subsection include the design, development, implementation, 
     expansion, and assessment of--
       (1) metrics of success to best capture the achievements of 
     HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and students of such institutions to 
     account for institutional context and missions, faculty 
     investment, student populations, student needs, and 
     institutional resource constraints;
       (2) enhancements to undergraduate STEM curriculum at HBCUs, 
     TCUs, and MSIs to increase the participation, retention, 
     degree completion, and success of underrepresented students;
       (3) professional development programs to increase the 
     numbers and the high-quality preparation of STEM faculty at 
     HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, including programs to encourage STEM 
     doctoral students to teach at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs; and
       (4) mechanisms for institutions of higher education that 
     are not HBCUs, TCUs, or MSIs to partner with HBCUs, TCUs, and 
     MSIs on STEM education, including the facilitation of student 
     transfer, mentoring programs for students and junior faculty, 
     joint research projects, and student access to graduate 
     education.
       (d) Research Experiences.--Grants under this section may 
     fund the development or expansion of opportunities for the 
     exchange of students and faculty to conduct research, 
     including through partnerships with institutions of higher 
     education that are not HBCUs, TCUs, or MSIs, private sector 
     and non-profit organizations, Federal laboratories, and 
     international research institutions.
       (e) Partnerships.--In awarding grants under this section, 
     the Director of the National Science Foundation shall--
       (1) encourage HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and consortia thereof 
     and partnerships with one or more HBCU, TCU, or MSI, to 
     submit proposals;
       (2) require proposals submitted in partnership with one or 
     more HBCU, TCU, or MSI include a plan for establishing a 
     sustained partnership that is jointly developed and managed, 
     draws from the capacities of each institution, and is 
     mutually beneficial; and
       (3) encourage proposals submitted in partnership with the 
     private sector, non-profit organizations, Federal 
     laboratories, and international research institutions, as 
     appropriate.
       (f) MSI Centers of Innovation.--Grants under this section 
     may fund the establishment of no more than five MSI Centers 
     of Innovation to leverage successes of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs 
     in STEM education and research training of underrepresented 
     minority students as models for other institutions, including 
     both HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and institutions of higher 
     education that are not HBCUs, TCUs, or MSIs. Such centers 
     will be located on campuses of selected institutions of 
     higher education and serve as incubators to allow 
     institutions of higher education to experiment, pilot, 
     evaluate, and scale up promising practices.
       (g) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized 
     to be appropriated to the Director of the National Science 
     Foundation $170,000,000 for fiscal year 2020, $175,000,000 
     for fiscal year 2021, $180,000,000 for fiscal year FY 2022, 
     $185,000,000 for fiscal year 2023, and $190,000,000 fiscal 
     year 2024 to carry out this section.

     SEC. 5. AGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES.

       (a) In General.--In consultation with outside stakeholders 
     and the heads of the Federal science agencies, the Director 
     shall develop a uniform set of policy guidelines for Federal 
     science agencies to carry out a sustained program of outreach 
     activities to increase clarity, transparency, and 
     accountability for Federal science agency investments in STEM 
     education and research activities at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs.
       (b) Outreach Activities.--In developing policy guidelines 
     under subsection (a) the Director shall include guidelines 
     that require each Federal science agency--
       (1) to designate a liaison for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs 
     responsible for--
       (A) enhancing direct communication with HBCUs, TCUs, and 
     MSIs to increase the Federal science agency's understanding 
     of the capacity and needs of such institutions and to raise 
     awareness of available Federal funding opportunities at such 
     institutions;
       (B) coordinating programs, activities, and initiatives 
     while accounting for the capacity and needs of HBCUs, TCUs, 
     and MSIs;
       (C) tracking Federal science agency investments in and 
     engagement with HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs; and
       (D) reporting progress toward increasing participation of 
     HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs in grant programs;
       (2) to publish annual forecasts of funding opportunities 
     and proposal deadlines, including for grants, contracts, 
     subcontracts, and cooperative agreements;
       (3) to conduct on-site reviews of research facilities at 
     HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, as practicable, and make 
     recommendations regarding strategies for becoming more 
     competitive in research;
       (4) to hold geographically accessible or virtual workshops 
     on research priorities of the Federal science agency and on 
     how to write competitive grant proposals;
       (5) to ensure opportunities for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to 
     directly communicate with Federal science agency officials 
     responsible for managing competitive grant programs in order 
     to receive feedback on research ideas and proposals, 
     including guidance on the Federal science agency's peer 
     review process;
       (6) to foster mutually beneficial public-private 
     collaboration among Federal science agencies, industry, 
     Federal laboratories, academia, and nonprofit organizations 
     to--
       (A) identify alternative sources of funding for STEM 
     education and research at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs;
       (B) provide access to high-quality, relevant research 
     experiences for students and faculty of HBCUs, TCUs, and 
     MSIs;
       (C) expand the professional networks of students and 
     faculty of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs;
       (D) broaden STEM educational opportunities for students and 
     faculty of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs; and
       (E) support the transition of students of HBCUs, TCUs, and 
     MSIs into the STEM workforce; and
       (7) to publish an annual report that provides an account of 
     Federal science agency investments in HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, 
     including data on the level of participation of HBCUs, TCUs, 
     and MSIs as prime recipients/contractors or subrecipients/
     subcontractors.
       (c) Strategic Plan.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Director, in collaboration with 
     the head of each Federal science agency, shall submit to 
     Congress a report containing a strategic plan for each 
     Federal science agency to increase the capacity of HBCUs, 
     TCUs, and MSIs to compete effectively for grants, contracts, 
     or cooperative agreements and to encourage HBCUs, TCUs, and 
     MSIs to participate in Federal programs.
       (2) Considerations.--In developing a strategic plan under 
     paragraph (1), the Director and each head of each Federal 
     science agency shall consider--
       (A) issuing new or expanding existing funding opportunities 
     targeted to HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs;

[[Page H9355]]

       (B) modifying existing research and development program 
     solicitations to incentivize effective partnerships with 
     HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs;
       (C) offering planning grants for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to 
     develop or equip grant offices with the requisite depth of 
     knowledge to submit competitive grant proposals and manage 
     awarded grants;
       (D) offering additional training programs and 
     individualized and timely guidance to grant officers and 
     faculty researchers at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to ensure they 
     understand the requirements for an effective grant proposal; 
     and
       (E) other approaches for making current competitive funding 
     models more accessible for under-resourced HBCUs, TCUs, and 
     MSIs.
       (d) Report to Congress.--Not later than 2 years after the 
     date of enactment of this Act, and every 5 years thereafter, 
     the Director shall report to Congress on the implementation 
     by Federal science agencies of the policy guidelines 
     developed under this section.

     SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) Director.--The term ``Director'' means the Director of 
     the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
       (2) Federal laboratory.--The term ``Federal laboratory'' 
     has the meaning given such term in section 4 of the 
     Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 (15 U.S.C. 
     3703).
       (3) Federal science agency.--The term ``Federal science 
     agency'' means any Federal agency with an annual extramural 
     research expenditure of over $100,000,000.
       (4) HBCU.--The term ``HBCU'' has the meaning given the term 
     ``part B institution'' in section 322 of the Higher Education 
     Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1061).
       (5) Institution of higher education.--The term 
     ``institution of higher education'' has the meaning given 
     such term in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
     (20 U.S.C. 1001).
       (6) Minority serving institution.--The term ``minority 
     serving institution'' or ``MSI'' means Hispanic-Serving 
     Institutions as defined in section 502 of the Higher 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C 1101a); Alaska Native Serving 
     Institutions and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions as 
     defined in section 317 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
     (20 U.S.C. 1059d); and Predominantly Black Institutions, 
     Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving 
     Institutions, and Native American-Serving Nontribal 
     Institutions as defined in section 371 of the Higher 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1067q(c)).
       (7) STEM.--The term ``STEM'' has the meaning given the term 
     in the STEM Education Act of 2015 (42 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.).
       (8) TCU.--The term ``TCU'' has the meaning given the term 
     ``Tribal College or University'' in section 316 of the Higher 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1059c).

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Johnson) and the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Lucas) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Texas.


                             General Leave

  Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
to include extraneous materials on H.R. 4372, the bill that is under 
consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 4372, the MSI STEM Achievement 
Act, and I thank Representative Waltz for joining me in introducing 
this bill and for his commitment to increasing diversity in Science, 
Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM fields.
  This bill was developed based upon recommendations in the 2019 
National Academy of Sciences report entitled, ``Minority Serving 
Institutions: America's Underutilized Resource for Strengthening the 
STEM Workforce.''
  The demographics of our country are changing, and we must do more to 
address the underrepresentation of minority students in STEM to keep 
our workforce competitive.
  As stated in the report, the STEM readiness of students of color will 
have direct implications on America's economic growth, national 
security, and global prosperity. The time to act is now.
  Minority-serving institutions have a long record of success in 
recruiting, retaining, and graduating underrepresented minority 
students in STEM. However, more investment and outreach are needed to 
enable the MSIs to realize their potential.
  The MSI STEM Achievement Act ensures that Federal STEM education and 
research funding opportunities are more accessible to the MSIs. The 
legislation directs the Government Accountability Office to compile an 
inventory of Federal science agency programs targeted to MSIs and to 
make recommendations of what more agencies can do to encourage 
increased participation and success for the MSIs in these programs.
  In addition, the legislation authorizes the National Science 
Foundation to support research on the challenges and successes MSIs 
have had in contributing to the STEM workforce, including approaches to 
building the research competitiveness of MSIs.
  And finally, the bill directs the Office of Science and Technology 
Policy to develop a government-wide strategic plan and sustained 
outreach program to support STEM education and research at the MSIs.
  It is important to remember that these institutions are not a 
monolith. Indeed, their focus on meeting the distinct needs of their 
students has been critical to their success. In carrying out the 
activities of this act, Federal science agencies and OSTP should ensure 
that they are accounting for the diversity among these institutions and 
the populations they serve. If we are to continue to prosper as a 
Nation, we must do more to diversify our STEM workforce.
  Fortunately, the more than 700 MSIs that enroll nearly 30 percent of 
our Nation's undergraduates know how to solve this problem. The MSI 
STEM Achievement Act will ensure these institutions are equipped with 
the resources they need to lead the way.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this good, bipartisan 
bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LUCAS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I am proud to cosponsor this legislation led by 
Chairwoman Johnson and Representative   Michael Waltz, which continues 
the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's bipartisan work to 
support, encourage, and develop the next generation of America's 
science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science 
workforce.
  Minority-serving institutions, including historically Black colleges 
and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and Tribal colleges 
and universities have a long record of success in recruiting, 
retaining, and graduating underrepresented students in STEM fields.
  In my own district, I have seen the unique value of minority-serving 
institutions. For more than 100 years, Langston University, a 
historically Black college and land-grant institution, has educated 
students of all backgrounds. They have influenced people's lives beyond 
the classroom in service to the community in both rural and urban 
Oklahoma. This legislation will help schools like Langston prepare 
their students to fill the STEM jobs of the 21st century.
  Since 1990, employment in STEM occupations has grown by nearly 80 
percent. Over the next decade, with demand continuing to grow and U.S. 
universities expected to produce only less than one-third of the STEM 
graduates needed, the STEM shortage is anticipated to reach 1 million 
professionals. At the same time, minorities are severely 
underrepresented in STEM fields, only accounting for 11 percent of the 
STEM workforce. To meet this growing demand, talent from all groups is 
essential.
  The Trump administration has also recognized this need by calling for 
an increase of diversity, equality, and inclusion in Federal STEM 
programs in its recent 5-year STEM strategic plan.
  This bill that we are considering today takes steps to meet the 
administration's call to action by providing for increased 
transparency, accountability, and accessibility of Federal STEM 
education and research funds for MSIs. Without a diverse talent pool of 
Americans with strong STEM knowledge and skills prepared for the jobs 
of the future, the U.S. will not be able to maintain the innovation 
that supports key sectors of the economy, including agriculture, 
energy, healthcare, and defense.
  I, again, thank Chairwoman Johnson and Representative Waltz for their 
leadership. I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation, and 
I reserve the balance of my time.

  Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LUCAS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Waltz).
  Mr. WALTZ. Mr. Speaker, since 1904, the Bethune Cookman University, a

[[Page H9356]]

historically Black college, has contributed to a rich and diverse 
history in my district. Four thousand students proudly call this 
university home in Florida's Sixth District, and we are proud of all of 
Bethune Cookman's accomplishments, especially in STEM fields.
  Minorities make up nearly 30 percent of America's population, but 
nationwide, as my distinguished colleague from Oklahoma and the 
administration have noted, we are seeing a gap in minority 
representation in STEM fields. Believe it or not, minorities only 
account for 11 percent of the STEM workforce.
  As we all know, the demand for STEM fields is at an all-time high. 
Over the next decade, the STEM shortage is anticipated to reach 1 
million professionals. If we want America to compete and succeed, we 
must and we need to make sure our workforce reflects our country's 
diversity. The bill we are considering today, the MSI STEM Achievement 
Act, would help increase the capacity for minority students and STEM 
curricula and encourage partnerships with industry and Federal 
laboratories.
  In short, this bill will enhance our domestic workforce, so as to 
ensure America continues to compete globally. If America wants to lead 
militarily, economically, and critically in space, we must lead in 
STEM.
  I would be remiss to not also mention the importance of women in 
STEM. As I have said countless times since I have been elected, and 
will continue to say, from my experiences as a veteran and a Green 
Beret fighting all over the globe, where women thrive in business, 
where women thrive in civil society and in politics, extremism doesn't, 
and it is just that simple. And for that reason, diversity in STEM is 
truly a national security issue.
  And in Volusia County, in my district in Florida, just north of Cape 
Canaveral and just north of the Kennedy Space Center, we are seeing 
countless businesses participate in workforce development programs like 
the Space Coast Consortium Apprenticeship Program. This program and so 
many others are making huge strides to advance STEM curriculum and 
workforce development.
  As the Republican lead on the MSI STEM Achievement Act, I want to 
thank Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas for working with me 
to improve participation in STEM at these critically important MSIs.
  For America's continued predominance in science and technology, I 
urge my colleagues to support this important bill and for its passage.
  Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LUCAS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  The United States is in a race to remain the world leader in science 
and technology. The only way we will win is by utilizing America's most 
valuable resource, our people. This means developing a diverse, STEM-
capable workforce at every educational level and from every background.
  Creating opportunities for students to not only develop STEM 
knowledge but also to have hands-on experience is essential. Research 
shows that students, especially those from underrepresented minority 
backgrounds, are more likely to graduate from science and engineering 
programs if they have opportunities to engage in STEM course content 
with peers, participate in undergraduate research, and join science 
clubs and organizations.
  This bill will support such STEM education and training activities at 
MSIs, providing these students with the skills necessary to develop and 
flourish in the 21st century. These investments will help grow our 
workforce, improve our economy, and protect our country.
  I, again, would like to thank Chairwoman Johnson and Representative 
Waltz for their leadership, and I encourage my colleagues to support 
this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for 
time, and I simply want to thank all of the Members and staff involved 
in this legislation. I urge its passage.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Johnson) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 4372, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________