“Since we were elected to the Majority, House Republicans have put forward solutions to spur job creation and economic growth by focusing on and helping small businesses get off the ground, to grow and hire. We have worked hard to drive small business job creation and innovation by enacting patent reform, the JOBS Act and the removal of regulatory and tax burdens that are impeding small businesses growth.
“The STEM Jobs Act we are voting on today is part of our commitment to help small businesses, to help them create jobs by ensuring the top foreign students in American universities have the opportunity to launch or work for American businesses. The bipartisan STEM Jobs Act takes 55,000 visas currently awarded based on a lottery, and instead awards them to foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“This legislation provides students with the opportunity to stay here in the U.S. where they can contribute to the American economy, rather than leaving for other countries and taking their venture capital with them to compete against America and our businesses. I want to thank Chairman Smith, as well as Congressman Henry Cuellar for introducing this legislation. I would also like to note that Congressman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Congressman Raul Labrador from Idaho have also been instrumental in getting us here.
“There's a reason why we in America have within our borders the world's leading innovators and why they choose to launch their companies here. Our nation offers immense opportunity to those who come to our shores. My grandparents, just like so many others, who immigrated to America knew what foreign students know today: America has always been a place which puts a premium on ensuring that no matter who you are or where you come from, everyone here should have the opportunity to go achieve and earn success.
“According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. So, we must continue to take advantage of our status as a destination for the world’s best and brightest. We want job creation and innovators to stay here and help us compete. Over the past two decades, the number of international graduate students enrolled in our nation’s top notch universities has grown, but as the Congressional Research Service shows, the percentage of these students who gain visas has largely remained the same since 1990.
“The STEM Jobs Act says to our foreign graduates: you chose America and America chooses you. More talent in our workforce will mean more innovation, more startups, more entrepreneurship, more jobs and a better economy. It’s time our visa system adopted this common sense advancement. It’s time for us to pass this bill and I hope there is broad bipartisan support for it when the vote occurs."
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)
House Floor Remarks
September 20, 2012