Today I received word by email from Congressman Dan Lipinski’s office (Democrat from Illinois 3) that the COMPETES reauthorization act finally passed as H.R. 5116 (not as 5325, Rep. Gordon’s Hail Mary attempt to get around the Republicans evil partisan play to kill the bill by turning it into a vote about federal employees looking at naughty pictures at work). Thomas and the several other sites I use to track progress on various bills aren’t caught up with the action, so I don’t yet know what the final bill and its amendments look like. The vote was 262 to 150.
Lipinski is the Chairman of the Committee on Science & Technology’s Research and Science Education Subcommittee. You may recall that Bart Gordon (D from Tennessee 6) is the Chair of the Committee on Science & Technology, the sponsor of the original COMPETES bill in 2007, and the reauthorization bill’s motive force in the House.
From the text of Lipinski’s email, it appears as though some of the major provisions that Republicans had tried to amend out made it through the final vote, including prizes and funding for additional university infrastructure
The COMPETES Act includes Chairman Lipinski’s National Science Foundation reauthorization bill, H.R. 4997, as well as a measure he authored to establish prizes for breakthrough scientific research. The NSF component of COMPETES takes steps to improve academic research infrastructure – such as lab space, networks, instruments, and computing facilities – and requires the National Science Board to develop recommendations for how to better handle mid-scale research instrument proposals. In addition, Chairman Lipinski successfully defended the Academic Research Facilities Modernization Program, which authorizes funding for university infrastructure, from an attempt to repeal it.
I’m not sure how they did it, but the good guys won this time. Here is a link to Rep Gordon’s press release about the successful vote; if Rep. Lipinski posts a release, I’ll link to it here as well.