Press Release

Republicans Pass Anti-Science Bill Undermining the American Research Enterprise and Abandoning the Legacy of COMPETES

By SpaceRef Editor
May 20, 2015
Filed under ,

(Washington, DC)  Today the House passed H.R. 1806, the Republicans’ America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, a COMPETES Act in name only. The COMPETES Act of 2007 and its 2010 reauthorization, provided important tools, policy direction, and sufficient resources to keep our nation competitive well into the future. H.R. 1806 abandoned the goals of the first two COMPETES bills and instead embraced a partisan, anti-science agenda.

The bill passed out of Committee along party lines and also passed the House by a vote of 217  205, with every Democrat and 23 Republicans voting against the bill.

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said of H.R. 1806 in her floor statement, “It abandons the legacy of Competes by flat-funding R&D investments.  It abandons that legacy by slashing funding for the very ARPA-E program envisioned by the Augustine Committee.  It abandons that legacy by politicizing the scientific grant making process and pitting different research disciplines against one another. I want to be clear about what it is that the Majority is abandoning.  They are abandoning our future. America is the greatest nation on earth.  But our greatness is not guaranteedIf we don’t recommit to our investments in science education and research and development, we will be surpassed. The bill before us fails to secure our Nation’s future, and for that reason, I must strenuously oppose it.” To view the full statement, click here.

Seventy-seven organizations from the scientific community, representing over 1,000 scientific societies, colleges, universities, small businesses, large companies, and professional organizations, all publicly opposed this bill.  To view a list of the organizations and the letters, click here.

Congresswoman Johnson offered an amendment to replace the bill text with that of the Democratic alternative, H.R. 1898, the America Competes Act of 2015.

She said, “The principles embodied in my substitute amendment continue a pact that the federal government made with our nation’s great research universities following our victory in World War II and the onset of the space race that led to the creation of NSF and NASA. This pact is what has made NSF, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, and the Department of Energy among the world’s greatest and most admired research agencies If you really want to do right by this great nation, and by your children and grandchildren, you will vote for the substitute amendment and replace the underlying legislation with a positive path forward.”

To view a fact sheet on H.R.1898, click here.

Democratic Members submitted a number of other amendments to the bill to remove harmful language and restore funding for valuable scientific research. View the amendments here.

Please visit our website: http://democrats.science.house.gov

 

 

SpaceRef staff editor.