America COMPETES Reauthorization Hits a Bump

The House today voted 292-126 to return the America COMPETES Act reauthorization bill to committee, including instructions to amend the bill. The Chronicle of Higher Education nicely covers the issues at play (with an obvious emphasis the university R&D angle), “House Republicans Block Bid to Increase Federal Support for Scientific Research“:

A Democrat-led effort to expand federal support for university research hit a roadblock on Thursday when the House of Representatives accepted a Republican proposal to trim spending levels and impose new conditions on the government and on institutions.

The House voted, 292 to 126, in favor of the Republican proposal, effectively halting Democratic plans to pass a five-year renewal of the America Competes Act. Congress first approved the bill in 2007 with the goal of doubling within seven years the total amount of federal spending on long-term basic research.

The hot-button issue pushed by the Republicans was a ban on spending federal money for salaries of employees disciplined for viewing pornography on office computers.

But it would be a mistake to dismiss the criticism of overspending. The public IS worried by federal spending and debt. The Heritage Foundation’s The Foundry blog hit on those points in a post earlier this week, “The America Competes Act: Business-As-Usual in Washington.”

The NAM had issued a Key Vote letter in support of the legislation earlier this week.

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