Created by on 12/29/2010 12:00:00 AM

Also on December 21st, the House passed 228 – 130 the compromise version of HR 5116, the America COMPETES Act Reauthorization of 2010. 16 Republicans voted for the bill and no Democrats voted against it. As we reported in the last Washington Update, the Senate passed the bill on December 17th. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (WV) and ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) issued press statements applauding the Senate’s action. A short summary of the bill is available on the Senate committee website. House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (TN) also hailed the approval of the legislation and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) spoke during the debate saying, "Federal support for research and innovation is one of the best investments we can make in our future.”

The final COMPETES legislation represents a compromise between the House and Senate bills (HR 5116/ S 3605) that were approved by the relevant committees this summer and provides a three-year reauthorization for key federal science agencies including the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy Office of Science (DoE SC), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In addition, the revised bill creates a path to double authorized funding levels for scientific research agencies within ten years. Over the short term, recommended funding levels for NSF would grow from $7.8 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2012 to $8.3 billion in FY 2013 while DoE SC increases from $5.6 billion to $6 billion over the same time frame. The legislation also creates an interagency Public Access Committee to coordinate policies expanding public access to federally funded research across the government.