Today’s lesson is: never count your chickens before they hatch. You’ll remember a few months back, the House overwhelmingly passed legislation reauthorizing the National Nanotechnology Initiative, and slightly modifying some of the work they do. At the time, I surmised (to myself) that passage through the Senate was likely to be quick. Perhaps not.
It turns out, the NNI re-authorization bill on the Senate side, S.3274, is getting bogged down and is in danger of not passing before the end of the term later this year. This bill has been slow to be introduced (as in yesterday), and the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee may not get to consider it until next week at the earliest.
Some environmentalists are seeing this as an opportunity to try and get the 10% funding increase for EHS research back into the bill, but attempting such an effort may endanger its passage by the full Senate, which is needed to keep the NNI going. If the full Senate doesn’t pass the bill before the end of the session, the whole process will have to be restarted and approved by both chambers. Given that a markup hasn’t happened yet, passage by the end of this Congress is already looking to be tight on the calendar. We’ll have to keep an eye on the progress to see what happens between now and the end of the year.