SUPPORTING VETERANS IN STEM CAREERS ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 17
(House of Representatives - January 27, 2020)

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[Pages H550-H553]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                SUPPORTING VETERANS IN STEM CAREERS ACT

  Mr. McADAMS. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (S. 153) to promote veteran involvement in STEM education, 
computer science, and scientific research, and for other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                                 S. 153

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

[[Page H551]]

  


     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Supporting Veterans in STEM 
     Careers Act''.

     SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) Director.--The term ``Director'' means the Director of 
     the National Science Foundation.
       (2) Foundation.--The term ``Foundation'' means the National 
     Science Foundation.
       (3) STEM.--The term ``STEM'' has the meaning given the term 
     in section 2 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 
     2010 (42 U.S.C. 6621 note).
       (4) Veteran.--The term ``veteran'' has the meaning given 
     the term in section 101 of title 38, United States Code.

     SEC. 3. SUPPORTING VETERANS IN STEM EDUCATION AND COMPUTER 
                   SCIENCE.

       (a) Supporting Veteran Involvement in Scientific Research 
     and STEM Education.--The Director shall, through the research 
     and education activities of the Foundation, encourage 
     veterans to study and pursue careers in STEM and computer 
     science, in coordination with other Federal agencies that 
     serve veterans.
       (b) Veteran Outreach Plan.--Not later than 180 days after 
     the date of enactment of this Act, the Director shall submit 
     to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the 
     House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, 
     Science, and Transportation of the Senate a plan for how the 
     Foundation can enhance its outreach efforts to veterans. Such 
     plan shall--
       (1) report on the Foundation's existing outreach 
     activities;
       (2) identify the best method for the Foundation to leverage 
     existing authorities and programs to facilitate and support 
     veterans in STEM careers and studies, including teaching 
     programs; and
       (3) include options for how the Foundation could track 
     veteran participation in research and education programs of 
     the Foundation, and describe any barriers to collecting such 
     information.
       (c) National Science Board Indicators Report.--The National 
     Science Board shall provide in its annual report on 
     indicators of the state of science and engineering in the 
     United States any available and relevant data on veterans in 
     science and engineering careers or education programs.
       (d) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program Update.--
     Section 10 of the National Science Foundation Authorization 
     Act of 2002 (42 U.S.C. 1862n-1) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)(5)--
       (A) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (B) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end 
     and inserting ``; and''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(C) higher education programs that serve or support 
     veterans.'';
       (2) in subsection (b)(2)(F)--
       (A) by striking ``and students'' and inserting ``, 
     students''; and
       (B) by inserting ``, and veterans'' before the period at 
     the end;
       (3) in subsection (c)(2), by inserting ``and veterans'' 
     before the period at the end; and
       (4) in subsection (d)(2), by inserting ``and veterans'' 
     before the period at the end.
       (e) National Science Foundation Teaching Fellowships and 
     Master Teaching Fellowships Update.--Section 10A(d) of the 
     National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002 (42 
     U.S.C. 1862n-1a(d)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (3)(F)--
       (A) by striking ``and individuals'' and inserting ``, 
     individuals''; and
       (B) by inserting ``, and veterans'' before the period at 
     the end; and
       (2) in paragraph (4)(B), by inserting ``and veterans'' 
     before the period at the end.
       (f) National Science Foundation Computer and Network 
     Security Capacity Building Grants Update.--Section 5(a) of 
     the Cyber Security Research and Development Act (15 U.S.C. 
     7404(a)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``and students who are 
     veterans'' after ``these fields''; and
       (2) in paragraph (3)--
       (A) in subparagraph (I), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (B) by redesignating subparagraph (J) as subparagraph (K); 
     and
       (C) by inserting after subparagraph (I) the following:
       ``(J) creating opportunities for veterans to transition to 
     careers in computer and network security; and''.
       (g) Graduate Traineeships in Computer and Network Security 
     Research Update.--Section 5(c)(6)(C) of the Cyber Security 
     Research and Development Act (15 U.S.C. 7404(c)(6)(C)) is 
     amended by inserting ``or veterans'' after ``disciplines''.
       (h) Veterans and Military Families STEM Education 
     Interagency Working Group.--
       (1) In general.--The Director of the Office of Science and 
     Technology Policy shall establish, or designate, an 
     interagency working group to improve veteran and military 
     spouse equity and representation in STEM fields.
       (2) Duties of interagency working group.--An interagency 
     working group established under paragraph (1) shall develop 
     and facilitate the implementation by participating agencies 
     of a strategic plan, which shall--
       (A) specify and prioritize short- and long-term objectives;
       (B) specify the common metrics that will be used by Federal 
     agencies to assess progress toward achieving such objectives;
       (C) identify barriers veterans face in reentering the 
     workforce, including a lack of formal STEM education, career 
     guidance, and the process of transferring military credits 
     and skills to college credits;
       (D) identify barriers military spouses face in establishing 
     careers in STEM fields;
       (E) describe the approaches that each participating agency 
     will take to address administratively the barriers described 
     in subparagraphs (C) and (D); and
       (F) identify any barriers that require Federal or State 
     legislative or regulatory changes in order to be addressed.
       (3) Report.--The Director of the Office of Science and 
     Technology Policy shall--
       (A) not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of 
     this Act, submit to Congress the strategic plan required 
     under paragraph (2); and
       (B) include in the annual report required by section 101(d) 
     of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (42 
     U.S.C. 6621(d)) a description of any progress made in 
     carrying out the activities described in paragraph (2) of 
     this subsection.
       (4) Sunset.--An interagency working group established under 
     paragraph (1) shall terminate on the date that is 3 years 
     after the date that it is established.

     SEC. 4. COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES STUDY AND 
                   REPORT ON BARRIERS FACED BY STUDENT VETERANS 
                   PURSUING DEGREES IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, 
                   ENGINEERING, OR MATH.

       (a) Study.--Not later than August 1, 2022, the Comptroller 
     General of the United States shall complete a study on 
     academic success rates of student veterans pursuing covered 
     degrees and barriers faced by such students in pursuing such 
     degrees.
       (b) Elements.--The study required by subsection (a) shall 
     include the following:
       (1) Assessment of available information on the percentage 
     or number of student veterans pursuing a covered degree with 
     educational assistance furnished under chapter 33 of title 
     38, United States Code.
       (2) Assessment of available information on the percentage 
     or number of such students who pursue a covered degree and do 
     not obtain such degree in four or fewer academic years.
       (3) Identification of the reasons that such students do not 
     obtain such degree in four or fewer academic years and 
     whether such reasons are barriers to obtaining such degrees.
       (4) Development of recommendations for legislative or 
     administrative action to better align the educational 
     assistance furnished under chapter 33 of title 38, United 
     States Code, with the needs of such students and address the 
     reasons identified under paragraph (3).
       (c) Report.--Not later than August 1, 2022, the Comptroller 
     General shall submit to Congress a report on the findings of 
     the Comptroller General with respect to the study completed 
     under subsection (a), along with recommendations for such 
     legislative or administrative action as the Comptroller 
     General considers appropriate.
       (d) Definition of Covered Degree.--In this section, the 
     term ``covered degree'' means a standard, undergraduate 
     college degree in a field listed under section 
     3320(b)(4)(A)(i) of title 38, United States Code.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Utah (Mr. McAdams) and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Gonzalez) each will 
control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Utah.


                             General Leave

  Mr. McADAMS. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to 
include extraneous material on S. 153, the bill now under 
consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Utah?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. McADAMS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume. I rise today in support of S. 153, the Supporting Veterans in 
STEM Careers Act. I thank Representatives Dunn and Lamb and our 
colleagues in the Senate, Senators Rubio and Klobuchar, for their 
leadership on this important bipartisan bill.
  The Nation's economic growth and global competitiveness are 
increasingly reliant on a workforce that is equipped with STEM 
knowledge and skills. Nearly every aspect of modern life, from 
transportation, agriculture, and healthcare, to energy and national 
defense, is built on a foundation of science and technology. To 
maintain our standing as the global leader in innovation, we must 
continue to invest in and expand our STEM workforce.
  While these challenges have been well defined for some time, we 
continue to struggle as a Nation to produce enough workers with the 
STEM skills and knowledge that their employers need.

[[Page H552]]

  Business leaders have expressed concern that the STEM skills shortage 
will impact their ability to develop new technologies and to grow their 
companies.
  The veteran population represents an underutilized pool of talent for 
our Nation's STEM workforce. Often, the skills these individuals 
obtained during their military service are transferable directly to 
STEM occupations. We must do more to tap into this diverse, highly 
skilled, and experienced population to not only strengthen our STEM 
workforce but also empower veterans to pursue high-paying and rewarding 
STEM careers.
  S. 153 directs the National Science Foundation to report data on 
veterans in STEM studies and careers and to develop a plan to increase 
outreach to those veterans.
  The bill also creates an interagency committee that will examine how 
Federal programs and policies can be best leveraged to equip veterans 
with the skills they need to transition into STEM careers.
  S. 153 is a good step toward addressing our STEM skills shortage and 
creating opportunities for those who have served our country.
  Once again, I thank my colleagues in the House and the Senate for 
their leadership on this very important issue. I also thank Chair 
Takano from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs for helping us to 
expedite consideration of this bill today on the floor.
  Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' and to send this 
bill to the President's desk for signature, and I reserve the balance 
of my time.
  Mr. GONZALEZ of Ohio. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Madam Speaker, I rise in support of S. 153, the Supporting Veterans 
in STEM Careers Act.
  I thank Dr. Neal Dunn and Congressman Conor Lamb, who led the House 
version of this bill, for their work to support our Nation's veterans.
  S. 153 will help veterans put their training and experience in 
military service to new and important uses and help America stay 
competitive in research and innovation on a global scale.
  In the last decade alone, jobs requiring some level of STEM expertise 
have grown by more than 30 percent, including jobs that do not require 
a bachelor's degree. Nearly 7 million jobs are unfilled in the United 
States due to a shortage of skilled workers, many in STEM and related 
fields.
  In my home State of Ohio, we have been focusing on boosting and 
expanding our cyber defense capabilities to the Ohio Cyber Range. In 
order for the program to be more efficient and ready for any 
cyberattack, we need a cybersecurity workforce properly trained in the 
STEM field.

                              {time}  1800

  S. 153 gives our veterans the opportunity to acquire new skills and 
better prepare them for jobs of the 21st century.
  At the same time, veterans and transitioning servicemembers represent 
a valuable, skilled talent pool from which to help meet this critical 
need.
  S. 153 will improve outreach to veterans through the National Science 
Foundation's programs to support and train STEM workers. We can serve 
our veterans and help them translate their experience into meaningful 
STEM work.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I reserve the balance 
of my time.
  Mr. McADAMS. Madam Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Texas (Ms. Johnson).
  Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Madam Speaker, I rise today to support S. 153, 
the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act.
  The future of this Nation will be driven by science, technology, 
engineering, and mathematics. STEM careers are among the fastest 
growing and highest-paying occupations. Despite these trends, we are 
failing to produce enough STEM workers to support the current pace of 
growth and innovation and ensure we continue to lead the world in 
science and technology development.
  As a Nation, we are forever indebted to the men and women who choose 
to serve in the military and put their lives on the line to protect the 
freedoms that we hold dear. At a minimum, we must ensure veterans 
interested in pursuing STEM careers here at home have the support that 
they need.
  Veterans are uniquely positioned to contribute to our STEM workforce, 
often having training in cybersecurity, avionics, nuclear physics, and 
medicine. However, significant obstacles often stand in their way when 
transitioning to a civilian STEM career.
  S. 153 establishes an interagency working group to identify these 
obstacles and develop a plan for addressing them. The bill also directs 
the National Science Foundation to improve its outreach to veterans and 
report on veterans in the STEM workforce. These are important steps for 
honoring our commitment to our veterans and for ensuring we have a 
competitive STEM workforce.
  I want to thank Representatives Dunn and Lamb, and our colleagues in 
the Senate, Senators Rubio and Klobuchar, for their leadership on this 
important issue. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
  Mr. GONZALEZ of Ohio. Madam Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Dunn).
  Mr. DUNN. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of S. 153, the 
Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act, which is about helping to 
expand veterans' job and education opportunities in the sciences. I was 
the proud sponsor of the House version of this bill.
  The bill directs the National Science Foundation to develop a 
veterans' outreach plan and publish data on veterans' participation in 
science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields in its annual 
``Indicators'' report.
  The bill also updates the NSF Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, 
fellowship programs, and cyber grant programs to include outreach to 
veterans.
  I thank Senator Rubio and Senator Klobuchar, for their bipartisan, 
bicameral support, and Congressman Lamb, a member of the Science 
Committee, and a Marine Corps veteran himself, for his work on this 
legislation. And I salute my fellow veterans in the Congress who have 
joined me in introducing this bill.
  This is an excellent opportunity for us all to come together and 
support a meritorious piece of legislation. The very nearly identical 
piece of legislation passed this body by voice vote 1 year ago.
  I urge all of my colleagues to support the bill and send it to the 
President's desk.
  Mr. McADAMS. Madam Speaker, I have no other requests for time, and I 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GONZALEZ of Ohio. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  I again want to thank Dr. Neal Dunn and Congressman Conor Lamb for 
their work to support our Nation's veterans.
  This bill will improve outreach to veterans through the National 
Science Foundation's programs to support and train STEM workers. We can 
serve our veterans and help them translate their experience into 
meaningful STEM work.
  I again urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation and 
send it to the President's desk.
  Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. McADAMS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  I urge adoption of this measure, S. 153. I commend my colleague for 
this important legislation and the impact that it will have on our 
veterans who have served our country and want to continue to serve and 
provide for themselves and serve in STEM fields.
  Madam Speaker, I urge adoption of this measure, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. JOHNSON of Texas. Madam Speaker, I include in the Record the 
following exchange of correspondence between myself and Veterans' 
Affairs Committee Chairman Takano. I appreciate his willingness to work 
with us to pass this bill today and send it to the President for 
signature.

                                         House of Representatives,


                               Committee on Veterans' Affairs,

                                  Washington DC, January 24, 2020.
     Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson,
     Chairwoman, Science, Space, and Technology Committee, House 
         of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairwoman Johnson: I am writing with respect to S. 
     153, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act. Thank you 
     for

[[Page H553]]

     consulting with the Committee on Veterans' Affairs regarding 
     the matters in S. 153 that fall within the Committee's 
     jurisdiction.
       As a result of your consultation with us on this measure 
     and in order to expeditiously move the bill to the floor, I 
     forego further consideration of S. 153. The Committee on 
     Veterans' Affairs takes this action with our mutual 
     understanding that we do not waive any jurisdiction over the 
     subject matter contained in this or similar legislation, and 
     the Committee will be appropriately consulted and involved as 
     the bill or similar legislation moves forward so that we may 
     address any remaining issues that fall within our 
     jurisdiction. Further, I request your support for the 
     appointment of an appropriate number of conferees from the 
     Committee on Veterans' Affairs during any House-Senate 
     conference involving this or similar legislation.
       Finally, I would appreciate your response to this letter 
     confirming this understanding regarding S. 153 and would ask 
     that a copy of our exchange of letters on this matter be 
     included in the Committee Report and the Congressional Record 
     during floor consideration of the measure. Thank you for the 
     cooperative spirit in which you have worked regarding this 
     matter and others between our respective committees.
           Sincerely,
                                                      Mark Takano,
                         Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
                                  ____
                                  
         House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space, 
           and Technology,
                                 Washington, DC, January 24, 2020.
     Chairman Mark Takano,
     Committee on Veterans' Affair,
     House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Takano: I am writing to you concerning S. 
     1S3, the ``Supporting Veterans in STEM Career Act,'' which 
     was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and 
     Technology, and in addition to the Committee on Veterans' 
     Affairs on December 19, 2019.
       I appreciate your willingness to work cooperatively on this 
     bill. I recognize that the bill contains provisions that fall 
     within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Veterans' 
     Affairs. I acknowledge that your Committee will waive further 
     consideration of S. 153 and that this action is not a waiver 
     of future jurisdictional claims by the Committee on Veterans' 
     Affairs over this subject matter.
       I will make sure to include our exchange of letters in the 
     Congressional Record. Thank you for your cooperation on this 
     legislation.
           Sincerely,

                                        Eddie Bernice Johnson,

                                 Chairwoman, Committee on Science,
                                            Space, and Technology.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Utah (Mr. McAdams) that the House suspend the rules and 
pass the bill, S. 153.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________