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.
554 letters written over night. Please consider writing a letter if you have not already done so.
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.
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.
Thank you Kristen! I know your Rep. has championed science in the past
hopefully he can lend his support this time to help the bill become more
I just checked the numbers. 25 new letters sent to Congress in an hour.
588 letters have been sent. It looks like information about this call-to-action will be published in the ACS Matters newsletter.
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:
SEC. 229. GREEN CHEMISTRY BASIC RESEARCH.
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
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.Oof.The vote was 261-148. If you are curious, here is the vote tally.
Thanks for this update. I wonder if this will dampen Gordon's retirement party that is happening today.
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.
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.
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.
It is not too late to send a letter to your Senator(s). The bill is scheduled to be considered by Senate Committees this week.
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. CastellaniTask 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 InnovationI 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.
Looks like the House is planning to vote on the America COMPETES Act this afternoon (May 28). Maybe the third time will be the charm?