20 Replies Latest reply on Jul 28, 2010 1:41 PM by Brad Smith

    The America COMPETES Act and ACS

    Brad Smith
      The American Chemical Society recently released a statement  regarding the recent House Science Committee mark up (April 28) of the America COMPETES Act.  Below is  the text of the statement.
      The American Chemical Society (ACS) applauds the introduction of  H.R. 5116 – the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act (Creating  Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology,  Education, and Science).

      If enacted, COMPETES will foster American innovation and global  competiveness thereby ensuring that our nation remains a world economic  and technological leader. The provisions in COMPETES both renew and  sustain the critical focus on basic research and development in the  physical sciences, math and science education, and revitalizes policies  that encourage innovation.

      ACS President Joseph Francisco, Ph. D., issued a letter of  support for COMPETES to Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), House Science  & Technology Committee on the eve of the Committee’s mark-up of the  bill and praised the Chairman for his leadership in introducing the 2010  reauthorization of COMPETES.

      “Reauthorization of COMPETES Act will continue to strengthen the  pillars of American innovation and competitiveness: education, basic  research, and a business environment to drive innovation. It is  essential that we reauthorize COMPETES so that our nation can continue  to invest in the people and the ideas that will form the basis for our  nation’s long-term economic vitality and security,” Francisco stated in  the letter.

      Promoting U.S. innovation and competiveness are critical to the  future success of our nation.  Given this importance, ACS expresses its  sincere desire that the reauthorization of COMPETES be accomplished with  overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.  It is  only by working together that we will be able to successfully address  the enormous challenges facing our country.
        • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
          Brad Smith
          The reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act is schedule for  full House consideration next Wednesday or Thursday.  Right now, no  Republicans have co-sponsored the bill and it is likely that no  Republicans will vote for the bill.  The bill will provide a unified  blueprint for strenghening our nation's innovation and  competiveness--including the authorization for DOE, NSF, and NIST  funding.
          You can urge your U.S. Representative to support this bill by  going here.
          • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
            Kevin Kuhn

            I am going to second Brad on this.  It is a good cause. I sent mine out yesterday afternoon...it only takes a couple of minutes.

            • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
              Kristen Kulinowski

              I just sent a letter to my (Republican) Rep. I personalized the beginning by thanking him for past support of science funding and urging him to continue his support by voting yes on this bill. I also asked our local section chair to distribute the call throughout our section.

              • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                Brad Smith
                The  America COMPETES is up for reathorization in the House this week.  In  advance of the debate, Congressman Gingrey (R-GA) has offered  an amendment on green chemistry.  Here  it is (pdf).  And here is the summary  as posted by the Rules Committee:
                Would  direct the National Science Foundation to establish the  Green Chemistry  Basic Research and Development program and provide  merit-based grants to  support green chemistry applications. Green  chemistry is chemistry that  involves the design of chemical products  and processes that reduce or  eliminate the use or generation of  hazardous substances, and it focuses  on preventing pollution and waste  from forming in the first place.
                Sounds good to me.  Now we have to root for both this amendment  and the larger bill.
                Update!  Here is the language of the actual amendment:
                The Director shall establish a Green Chemistry Basic
                Research program to award competitive, merit-based
                grants to support research into green and sustainable
                chemistry which will lead to clean, safe, and economical
                alternatives to traditional chemical products and practices.
                The research program shall provide sustained support for
                green chemistry research, education, and technology
                transfer through—
                (1) merit-reviewed competitive grants to indi
                vidual investigators and teams of investigators, in
                cluding, to the extent practicable, young investiga
                tors, for research;
                (2) grants to fund collaborative research part
                nerships among universities, industry, and nonprofit
                (3) symposia, forums, and conferences to in
                crease outreach, collaboration, and dissemination of
                green chemistry advances and practices; and
                (4) education, training, and retraining of under
                graduate and graduate students and professional
                chemists and chemical engineers, including through
                partnerships with industry, in green chemistry
                science and engineering.
                  • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                    Brad Smith

                    The bill is being debated right now.  You can check it out online at http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN.aspx.


                    Also over 700 letters have been sent on the bill.  183 letters have been sent on the Gingrey Green Chemistry amendment.  thank you for your help.

                      • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                        Brad Smith

                        The House just voted to "recommit  with instructions" the America COMPETES Act. Meaning that the bill  has been sent back to the House Science and Technology Committee and  final passage of the bill has been delayed.  It is uncertain when the  bill will come back to the full House for final consideration.

                          • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                            Brad Smith
                            Just got a summary of the language in the motion to recommit (see  below).
                            Summary of Motion to Recommit offered by Ralph Hall  (R-TX):  The motion would recommit H.R. 5116, the America COMPETES  reauthorization to the House Committee on Science and Technology with  instructions that the committee report

                                  * Strikes the new programs to the original COMPETES Act authorized  under H.R. 5116.
                                 * Ends the authorizations at FY 2013 to make it consistent with the  current three year authorization period.  H.R. 5116 extends the  authorization period to five years through 2015.
                                 * Freezes all funding levels to FY 2010 appropriated levels if the  federal government is running a budget deficit.
                                 * Ensures that institutions serving individuals with disabilities,  including disabled veterans, receive a designation consistent with other  institutions that serve underrepresented populations in STEM programs.  
                                 * Requires institutions to allow military recruiters on campus to be  eligible for funding under H.R. 5116 (Solomon Act).
                                 * No funds authorized under H.R. 5116 can be spent on the salaries  of employees who have been officially disciplined for viewing  pornography on a federal government computer or while performing  official federal government duties.
                            The motion to recommit saw 121Democrats vote with the  Republicans.  Once the motion passed Democratic leadership pulled the  bill.
                              • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                                Brad Smith
                                The reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act will be on the  House floor today.  Below is the press release from House Science &  Technology Chair Bart Gordon (D-TN) about this news.

                                Today, House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman  Bart Gordon  (D-TN) will introduce The America  COMPETES Reauthorization  Act of 2010. The bill is expected  to be considered under suspension  tomorrow.  Bills considered under  suspension cannot be amended and need to pass  with support from  two-thirds of those present, rather than a simple majority. 


                                The bill is identical to H.R.  5116 with two  exceptions:  it reduces the authorization period from five to three years, and it adopts language from the Motion  to Recommit banning the use of the authorized  funds to pay the salary of federal employees disciplined for looking at  pornography at work.   It includes the 52 amendments to H.R. 5116 adopted on the House Floor.


                                “The reintroduced America COMPETES  Reauthorization Act is a 50 percent cut in the funding path from H.R. 5116  as introduced.   While I certainly would have preferred the stability a five-year   authorization would have given our science agencies, I am willing to  compromise  with the Minority, in the interest of getting a good bill  through the House and  to our colleagues in the Senate.  This  legislation is too important to our  nation’s scientific and economic  leadership to let it fall victim to political  gridlock,” said Chairman  Bart Gordon (D-TN).  “The bill has a less steep  funding trajectory  than the 2007 COMPETES, H.R. 2272, which passed the  110th Congress 367 to 57, with the support of 143 Republicans, 101 of  whom  are serving in the 111th Congress.” 


                                For more information on the  Committee’s work on COMPETES, please visit our website.


                                  • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                                    Kevin Kuhn
                                    Press  Release from the House Committee on Science and Technology:

                                    Science Innovation  Legislation Receives Bipartisan Support, but Does Not Garner the  Two-Thirds Majority Required

                                    (Washington,  DC) – Today, although H.R. 5325, the America COMPETES  Reauthorization Act of 2010, received bipartisan support of the  majority of Members present, it failed to garner the two-thirds required  for bills considered as a suspension. 

                                    “I’m disappointed, but not deterred,”said Chairman  Bart Gordon (D-TN). As I’ve said before,  this bill is too important to let fall by the way-side. More than half  of our economic growth since World War II can be directly attributed to  development and adoption of new technologies. The path is  simple: research leads to innovation; innovation leads to economic  development and good paying jobs. Creating good jobs is the goal of this  bill, and it is what our country needs right now.”
                                    H.R. 5325 is a reintroduction of H.R. 5116, and is identical with two  exceptions: it reduces the authorization period from five to three  years, and it adopts the language from the Motion to Recommit banning  the use of the authorized funds to pay the salary of federal employees  disciplined for looking at pornography at work. It includes the 52  amendments to H.R. 5116 adopted on the House Floor.
                                    “I understand the concern of many of my  colleagues about the overall size of a five year authorization, and this  reduction is my sincere attempt at compromising on an issue that is  very important to me. The bill before us today includes an overall  funding reduction of almost 50 percent from H.R. 5116, as introduced,”  said Gordon during Floor consideration.
                                    Over 750 organizations endorsed reauthorization  of COMPETES, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National  Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, the Council on  Competitiveness, the Association of American Universities, the  Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the National Venture  Capital Association, TechAmerica, the Biotechnology Industry  Organization, the American Chemical Society, and others, including  nearly 100 universities and colleges.
                                    For more information on the Committee’s work on COMPETES, please visit our website.
                                    The vote was 261-148.  If you are curious, here is the vote  tally.
                                      • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                                        Brad Smith

                                        Thanks for this update.  I wonder if this will dampen Gordon's retirement party that is happening today.

                                          • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                                            Brad Smith

                                            The third time is a charm!!!  The America COMPETES Act was just approved by the House of Representatives.  The final vote tally was 262 to 150 with 17 Republicans voting for the bill.  Now the Senate needs to go to work before the bill can become law.

                                              • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                                                Brad Smith

                                                Here is a recent press release from Chairman Gordon's office on COMPETES.



                                                Today, the House of  Representatives passed H.R. 5116, America COMPETES Reauthorization  Act of 2010 by a vote of 262 to 150. The bill, which has over 100 cosponsors  and more than 750 endorsers, makes investments in science,  innovation, and education to support employers today while strengthening the  U.S. scientific and economic leadership to grow new industries of tomorrow, and  the jobs that come with them. 


                                                “If we are to reverse the trend of the  last twenty years, where our country’s technology edge in the world has  diminished, we must make the investments necessary today,” said Chairman Bart  Gordon (D-TN).  “The path is simple.  Research and education lead to  innovation.  Innovation leads to economic development and good paying jobs and  the revenue to pay for more research.  And as private firms under-invest in  research and development because the returns are too far off in the future,  there is a clear and necessary role of government to help our nation keep pace  with the rest of the world.” 


                                                Over 750 organizations have endorsed  the legislation including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association  of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, the Council on Competitiveness, the  Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant  Universities, the National Venture Capital Association, TechAmerica, the  Biotechnology Industry Organization, the American Chemical Society, and others,  including nearly 100 universities and colleges.


                                                To maintain a pipeline of ideas, the  bill puts basic research programs on a path to doubling authorized funding  levels over ten years at:  the Department of Energy Office of Science, the  single largest supporter of research in the physical sciences in the U.S.; the  National Science Foundation, which supports fundamental research and education  in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering; and the National  Institute of Standards and Technology labs, which conduct research to advance  the nation's technology infrastructure and support  industry.


                                                The bill will help foster innovation  in new energy technologies by:  reauthorizing the Advanced Research Projects  Agency, which is pursing high-risk, high-reward energy technology development;  and authorizing Energy Innovation Hubs, which are multidisciplinary  collaborations with a single technological focus that currently presents a  critical barrier to achieving our national energy innovation  goals.


                                                The bill will also help ensure U.S.  leadership in emerging and growing fields, including nanotechnology and  IT.


                                                The bill supports local efforts to  form Regional Innovation Clusters, which will strengthen regional economies and  advance the work done in a given field by leveraging collaboration and  communication between businesses and other entities. 


                                                The bill addresses immediate needs by  creating Innovative Technology Federal Loan Guarantees to help small- and  medium-sized manufacturers access capital to make necessary updates to become  more efficient and stay competitive.


                                                The bill will also assist industry by  ensuring that the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program at National  Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) better reflects the needs and  challenges facing manufacturers today.  In addition, the bill reorganizes NIST  labs to reflect the multidisciplinary nature of technology and better meet the  needs of industry in the 21st century.


                                                The bill also will help improve  science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education by reauthorizing the  Noyce scholarships, which help give K-12 teachers a strong grounding in their  fields, so they can more fully engage students.  The bill also addresses  coordination of STEM activities across the federal government, and improves STEM  education at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral  levels.


                                                “Throughout the Committee process,  there was a lot of legitimate discussion about federal deficits.  I agree that  we must address the challenges presented by our deficits, but we must also  invest in our country’s future.  I remember Newt Gingrich saying one of his  greatest regrets was not doubling the funding for NSF when he put NIH on the  doubling path,” said Gordon.  “During committee consideration of this  bill, we made some significant changes to the bill’s authorization  levels—cutting them by over 10 percent.  Though we will maintain a doubling path  for our research accounts, we do so on a slightly less aggressive  trajectory.”


                                                After a few minor setbacks over the  past two weeks, the House proceeded today with further consideration of H.R.  5116.  When consideration resumed, Chairman Gordon moved a division of the question on the amendment included in the Republican Motion to Recommit passed by the  House on May 13.  This effort allowed the House to consider and vote separately  on several parts of the Motion to Recommit. 


                                                “As I’ve said before, this bill is  too important to let fall by the wayside.  Today, we took the action necessary  to see consideration of this bill completed.  And we allowed the Members of the  House to be on record voting on provisions gutting funding for our science  agencies, voting on whether we should eliminate programs that will help create  jobs, voting on whether to eliminate programs that will make us more energy  independent, voting in opposition to federal employees watching pornography, and  voting on whether universities that ban military recruiters should receive  federal research dollars.  We have provided all Members, in a reasonable manner,  with the ability to vote on each of these items separately instead of all  together,” said Chairman Gordon.


                                                For more information on the  Committee’s work on COMPETES, please visit our website.

                                                  • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                                                    Brad Smith

                                                    The ACS is now working to get the U.S. Senate to pass the America COMPETES Act.  Last week ACS action network members sent nearly 1,100 letters to the Senate urging action on this bill.  You can also send a letter by clicking here.  Below is the email message that was sent to action network members earlier last week.


                                                    Please write your U.S. senators to urge them to support re-authorization of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act.


                                                    In 2007, Congress approved the America COMPETES Act as a bipartisan response to the National  Academy’s Rising Above the Gathering Storm and other reports about innovation and competitiveness. Those reports highlighted that the United States was falling behind in science and technology and was in danger of losing its competitive edge.  The COMPETES Act focused on three primary areas: increasing research investment; strengthening education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and enhancing the U.S. environment for innovation.


                                                    The reauthorization of the American COMPETES Act (H.R. 5116) was approved by the House of Representatives on Friday, May 28. Now the Senate needs to act.  Unless Congress completes work on H.R. 5116, the America COMPETES Act will expire at the end of this year. 


                                                    Please act now and contact your senators to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act.  


                                                    Thank you for your continuing help in this critical effort. 

                                  • Re: The America COMPETES Act and ACS
                                    Kevin Kuhn

                                    We have posted letters of support  for ACA on the Act4chemistry blog.  Here is  the post:


                                    The Business  Roundtable and  the Task  Force on American  Innovation have both written strong letters of  support for the  reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act.
                                    Check  out  their letters of support:
                                    Business  Roundtable (pdf):
                                    May 19, 2010

                                    To Members of the House of  Representatives:

                                    Vote YES on H.R. 5325, the America COMPETES  Reauthorization  Act of 2010

                                    On behalf of the members of Business  Roundtable, chief  executive officers of leading U.S. companies with  nearly $6 trillion in  annual revenues and more than 12 million  employees, I urge you to  protect American jobs and preserve U.S.  economic and technological  leadership by voting YES on H.R. 5325, the  America COMPETES  Reauthorization Act of 2010. The reauthorization of  COMPETES deserves  broad-based, bipartisan support today, just as the  original COMPETES  legislation was enacted with overwhelming bipartisan  support in 2007.  Investments in science and education lead to new  industries, create  high-wage jobs and produce the long-term, stable  economic growth  essential to reducing budget deficits. Other nations  are rapidly  building greater research capacity and making strategic  investments in  science, technology and education to advance their  international  competitiveness. Investing in innovation has been a  bipartisan priority  in Congress, and two successive Administrations  from opposite parties  have         supported initiatives to strengthen  it. We must not cede U.S.  leadership in science and technology to our  competitors. Our future  prosperity depends on it.


                                    John  J. Castellani

                                    Task Force on American  Innovation:
                                    Dear Speaker  Pelosi, Leader Boehner, Chairman Gordon, and  Ranking Member Hall:

                                    In  our May 7 letter to you, the members of the Task Force on  American  Innovation, a coalition of leading innovation companies, both  large and  small, universities, and scientific societies, expressed our  strong  support for passage of H.R. 5116, the America COMPETES  Reauthorization  Act of 2010.

                                    We are writing to you again to express our deep  concern at  the turn of events that now threatens bipartisan approval of  this  measure.As we noted in our previous letter, the 2007 COMPETES  Act  provided the nation with a broad blueprint for strengthening the  pillars  of American innovation and competitiveness: basic research in  science  and engineering, STEM education, and an innovation-friendly  business  environment.

                                    These initiatives were based upon the  recommendations of the  landmark National Academies’ report, “Rising  Above the Gathering Storm.

                                    ”The reauthorization of COMPETES  deserves broad-based,  bipartisan support, just as the original COMPETES  legislation received  in 2007. This includes the funding levels  approved by the Science and  Technology Committee to continue doubling  funding for the National  Science Foundation, the Department of Energy  Office of Science, and the  National Institute of Standards and  Technology laboratories, as well as  funding to strengthen ARPA-E.

                                    Reducing  budget deficits and slowing the growth of our  national debt are  essential to the nation’s long-term economic  well-being. And history  has shown that investments in science and  education lead to new  industries and produce the kind of high-value jobs  and economic growth  essential to reducing budget deficits.  Businesses  never stop investing  in their future. Our nation would be wise to heed  this fundamental  wisdom.

                                    Investing in American innovation has been a bipartisan   priority in Congress, and two successive Administrations from opposite   parties have supported initiatives to strengthen it. If we allow   partisan provisions, amendments, or other actions to undermine   bipartisan support for reauthorizing COMPETES, this generation and   future generations will pay the price. The Task Force on American   Innovation strongly urges both parties to refrain from partisanship in   this debate and to join together in passing the COMPETES   reauthorization.


                                    The Task Force on American  Innovation

                                    I agree.
                                    Here is some information on both organizations:
                                    Business Roundtable is an association of chief  executive  officers of leading U.S. companies with nearly $6 trillion in  annual  revenues and more than 12 million employees. Member companies  comprise  nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets  and more  than 60 percent of all corporate income taxes paid to the  federal  government. Annually, they return $167 billion in dividends to   shareholders and the economy.
                                    The Task Force is an alliance of America's most innovative companies, leading  research  universities, and many of the largest scientific societies in  the  United States. Our mission is to support investment  in  basic research in the physical sciences and engineering.  For many   years, this investment has been falling to historic lows as a share of   our gross domestic product, raising concerns that we're not investing  an  adequate share of today's resources to support the innovations of   tomorrow.