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H.R. 6429: The STEM Jobs Act

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STEM Visas

This week the House considered H.R. 6429: The STEM Jobs Act. You may recall that the House voted on this bill in September under suspension of the rules. This means that the legislation requires a 2/3 YES vote in order to pass, rather than a simple majority. I voted NO in September and H.R. 6429 failed because it did not receive a 2/3 YES vote. Today, H.R. 6429 was brought to the House floor under regular order.

H.R. 6429 establishes a new visa program for foreign students who have advanced degrees in the STEM subjects science, technology, engineering and math. This is a worthy goal and I support it. I want students who earned a U.S. degree in a STEM subject to stay so they can utilize their skills here and contribute to our economy. I do not, however, support the way that this bill establishes the program.

Instead of simply creating a program that gives STEM students the opportunity to remain in the U.S., H.R. 6429 eliminates another visa program and directs those existing visas to STEM students. The program eliminated is called the Diversity Visa program, and it provides visas for countries where the rates of immigration to the United States are low. For example, half of the 50,000 visas allocated to this program are used by African immigrants. While I would support efforts to reform the Diversity Visa program to improve its effectiveness, I do not believe it is necessary to end this program in order to create new STEM visas. We should be able to do both.

I voted NO. This time, H.R. 6429 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

218

5

0

17

DEMOCRAT

27

134

0

31

TOTAL

245

139

0

48

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

10

0

0



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