Tuesday night, I forced a third committee vote on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Today, I continued the legislative effort to overcome the fear of words shown by my Republican colleagues. I forced a vote of the entire United States House of Representatives on H.R. 15, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation introduced in the House.
H.R. 15 was offered as a parliamentary addition to H.R. 4438, the American Research and Competitiveness Act, which is being debated on the House floor this week.
The motion based on my amendment last night failed by a final vote of 191-225 on Wednesday, with no Republicans voting in favor of the legislation. That total was a surprise, since the stand-alone version of H.R. 15, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, is a bipartisan bill with 199 co-sponsors, including three Republicans.
This was the fourth time I have forced a debate and majority-rules vote on H.R. 15. The previous three attempts were in committee hearings. Despite these efforts, Speaker John Boehner has failed to allow a full House debate on Comprehensive Immigration Reform as a stand-alone bill.
What we are actually doing, with the legislation I tried to amend, is creating more funding for research and development, while ignoring hundreds of thousands of the best and brightest researchers in our nation, students who will come out of our research universities and immediately get sent home to another country. They will build economies overseas while we fall behind.
According to the Partnership for a New American Economy, by 2018, America will face a projected shortfall of over 200,000 holders of advanced degrees in STEM areas. Yet, more than half of all PhDs graduating with degrees in these fields from U.S. universities are foreign-born
This year, the full allotment of H-1B visas for skilled workers was expended in only five days. To change this, H.R. 15 would create a new nonimmigrant investor visa and immigrant investor visa. STEM graduates will have green cards "stapled" to their diplomas.
The legislation being modified, H.R. 4438, would extend research and development tax credits which have been extended 15 times since being introduced in 1981.
It would increase the deficit by $155.5 billion and contains no offsets to pay for this deficit spending.
The best way to pay for these tax credits, is to expand research and development than by creating jobs, raising revenue, and supercharging our economy. We do that by passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform.