Encouraging. Darryl Issa, the powerful new GOP House Oversight Committee Chair, has introduced this bill in the past, but with the change in party control, he's got a lot more clout this time around. Issa is proposing replacing the green card lottery's annual green card allotment with a new green card category for US-educated graduates in the science, technology, math and engineering fields. Frankly, the lottery is a program that is always under attack and I'd rather see the program's numbers go to increasing either the family or employment categories. The antis have proposed in the past eliminating the program and not increasing the numbers in the other categories and this is obviously a much better alternative.

Here's how the Hill describes the measure:

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would pave the way for up to 55,000 foreign graduate students at American universities to obtain a green card.

Tech companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have bemoaned the shortage of American students earning advanced degrees in math, engineering and science; half of all graduate students in those subjects at U.S. universities are foreign-born.

Issa's bill would make it easier for those graduate students to stay in the country after earning their degree by allowing up to 55,000 graduates holding advanced degrees from U.S. universities to earn green cards, provided they have found employment "in the sciences or medicine."