COMPETES gets pushed back to committee from House floor in partisan squabbling

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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.


  1. […] into a vote in favor of federal employees watching porn at work (yes, I did not make that up; read about it here). HPC cares about this bill for the many reasons I have outlined previously (here and here, for […]

  2. […] 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 […]