As Peter Harsha reported late last week, the COMPETES reauthorization bill that we’ve spilled a good bit of ink covering here got sent back to committee from the House floor
In short, the motion to recommit with instructions [introduced by Republicans - ed.] sends the bill back to the committee from whence it came with instructions to amend it in specific ways. In this case, the instructions were to cut a number of “new” programs authorized in the bill (details below), add a provision that prohibits federal funds from being used to pay the salaries of federal employees who have been disciplined for watching porn (spurred on by the NSF pornography controversy), and freeze funding authorizations for NSF, NIST, and DOE – and eliminate funding for ARPA-E – during any year the budget isn’t balanced.
In the end, the motion passed with bipartisan support as Democrats were painted into what they felt was a corner they didn’t want to be in during an election year (the pro porn corner). As Peter reports, Chairman Gordon pulled the bill from the floor once the motion passed. The specific programs to be cut by the motion:
- NSF Prize Awards
- Innovative Services Initiative
- Fed Loan Guarantees for Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing
- Regional Innovation Program
- Energy Innovation Hubs
And that’s how politics short-circuits science and technology policy. Read Peter’s coverage for more sad details, including statements from Gordon.