On Friday, May 28, 2010, debate on H.R. 5116, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, discussed here earlier, resumed. As readers may recall, in the earlier debate in the House, a motion to recommit the bill to committee and for it to be reported back with an amendment, had been adopted by the House. On Friday, Rep. Bart Gordon, the sponsor of the bill, reported the bill back to the House, with amendments. In a series of votes, the majority of the proposed amendments, which would have reduced funding and the effectiveness of the bill in supporting innovative technologies and their commercialization, were defeated; only two amendments, adding sections 704, "No salaries for viewing pornography", which would prevent funds authorized under the bill from being used to pay the salaries of Federal employees disciplined for "viewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography, including child pornography, on a Federal government computer or while performing Federal government duties" and section 705, which would prevent colleges and universities that have violated Section 983 of Title X from receiving any funds authorized by the America COMPETES Act for grants or contracts.
Title I, Subtitle A, the National Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act was not affected by the proposed amendments and survived intact.
Having been passed in the House, the bill now proceeds to the Senate for debate and hopefully passage in that body. Congress has now adjourned for the Memorial Day Recess and the Senate will not reconvene until June 8. As many observers have noted, the Senate has considerable work ahead of it, ranging from Immigration reform to Climate Change legislation and HR 5116 faces the possibility of not coming up for a vote prior to Congress adjourning for the elections in November.
As always, we will keep track of the bill’s progress and update this site accordingly.