High on the tech industry policy wish list is legislation to grant visas to college graduates from other countries with advanced degrees in science and technology. On Friday, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced a bill that promises to do just that.
Dubbed, “Attracting the Best and Brightest Act 2012,” (H.R. 6412) the bill would make 50,000 visas available each year to students who “possess a graduate degree at the level of master’s or higher in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics from a United States research institution of higher education.”
Seemingly, this would be a non-partisan issue. But word from Politico is that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is looking at filing his own version of STEM legislation:
“But election season politics may be getting in the way, with Republicans wanting a bill introduced and voted on sooner than Democrats, according to a source. Rep. Lamar Smith has been at the center of these discussions, which also included Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Zoe Lofgren, Bob Goodlatte, Howard Berman, and Raul Labrador. A House Judiciary aide confirms Smith is working on a measure that would keep some foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced STEM degrees in the U.S., and he hopes to have a draft bill soon.”
Ah, well. Probably would have been kidding ourselves to think it would be easy. In any case, below is a copy of Lofgren’s bill, followed by a breakdown of its contents:
Here’s the breakdown: