COMPETES Bill Finally Passes House
Jun 5, 2010
The America COMPETES Act (H.R. 5116), which failed on two previous attempts to pass the full House, finally passed on May 28 by a vote of 262 to 150. House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) brought the original bill, as amended on May 13 during the first floor debate, back to the House chamber for a vote. Gordon successfully used an arcane parliamentary procedure (division of the question) to divide the Republican-backed motion to send the bill back to committee (i.e., the motion to recommit) into nine separate amendments that could be voted on separately by the chamber. Of the nine amendments, seven failed to pass, including the amendments to reduce the number of years and the funding levels authorized by the bill. This strategy allowed the House to retain the full funding authorization levels for five years for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program website has a detailed table of the COMPETES funding levels, as passed by the House. A companion bill in the Senate has yet to be introduced.