House Passes COMPETES Bill
On the same day H.R. 880, the American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015 was passed by the House, so was H.R. 1806, the America Competes Reauthorization Act, in a 217-205 vote.
The America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2015 would provide nearly $33 billion in funding for federal scientific research between 2016 and 2020, to be dispersed between the National Science Foundation, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and specific offices at the U.S. Department of Energy.
Opponents of the bill labeled it “anti-science” and criticized its reductions in approved funding for climate change and other research endeavors. Advocates saw the bill in a very different light. Lamar Smith (R-TX), House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman, described the bill as a “pro-science, fiscally responsible bill that sets America on a path to remain the world’s leader in innovation,” according to the American Institute of Physics.
President Obama is siding with the opponents on this one. On May 18, the White House released a statement saying it “strongly opposes House passage of H.R.1806…which would undermine critical investments in science, technology and research. The Administration believes that H.R. 1806 would be damaging to the Administration’s actions to move American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth forward through a world-leading science, technology, and innovation enterprise. If the President were presented with H.R. 1806, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
The COMPETES Act was received in the Senate on May 21, 2015, read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.