Monday, December 10, 2012

STEM Legislation Confrontations Between Two Powerful Republican and Democrat Senators on the Senate Floor

  • There was an interesting see-saw game on the Senate floor. Republican Senator Cornyn asked Unanimous Consent that the House passed H.R. 6429 (STEM Jobs Act of 2012) be agreed to. It was objected to by Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. Later, Senator Schumer asked Unanimous Consent that his version of pending STEM bill, S. 3553 (Benefits to Research and American Innovation through Nationality Statutes Act of 2012), also known as BRAINS Act of 2012, be agreed to. It was this time objected to by Senator Cornyn. Thus two STEM bills will continuously remain in the filibuster bin!
  • BRAINS Act proposes to make up to 55,000 visas available to qualified immigrants who: (1) possess a graduate degree at the level of master's or higher in a field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM degree) from a qualifying U.S. research institution of higher education; (2) earned a graduate degree by taking no greater than 25% of classes by correspondence (including courses offered by telecommunications) and by taking all classes while physically present in the United States; (3) have an employment offer from a U.S. employer in a field related to such degree; (4) are the subject of an approved labor certification; and (5) will receive a wage for such employment that is at least the actual wage paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question. The bill also proposes to make unused STEM visas available for other employment-based visa categories. It also proposes to increases the number of immigrant visas available to the spouses of aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence in each fiscal year by the number of aliens who were lawfully admitted for permanent residence who were removed from the United States in the preceding fiscal year.

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