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Senate Amends and Passes H.R. 5116 America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010

UPDATE

The House agreed to the Senate amendment to HR 5116 on 12/21/2010. We’ll discuss the implications of this in more detail after the Xmas holiday.

The Senate unanimously passed H.R. 5116 on Friday 12/17/2010, after first adopting an amendment in the nature of a substitute. As opposed to the version of H.R. 5116 that was passed in the House, the language of the amended version contains no provisions to reauthorize the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). As amended and passed by the Senate, the language of H.R. 5116 contains no references to nanotechnology at all.

The amended bill, basically a reduced version of S. 3605 as reported out of committee on 12/10/2010, reduces the amounts appropriated for various agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, from $84 billion to $43 billion over a three year period.

Having been passed by the Senate in an amended version, H.R. 5116 must now go back to the House for another vote to accept the Senate’s amendment. If this happens, then the bill will go to President Obama to be signed into law. However, if the House disagrees with the amendment, the bill would be sent to a Conference Committee, composed of Senators and Representatives appointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, charged with the task of creating a comprise version that would be acceptable to both the House and Senate. It is possible that an amendment reauthorizing …

S.3605 America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, on July 22, favorably reported S. 3605, the Senate version of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, sending it on the the full Senate for debate.

The text of the bill as reported is not yet available from THOMAS, however the text of the bill as introduced by Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia on July 15, 2010, does show differences from H.R. 5116, the version passed in the House. The Senate version contains no provisions concerning the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) or any other nanotechnology related provisions. It is possible that during debate, the bill may be amended to include provisions for NNI. It is also possible that, during debate, the language of H.R. 5116 may be substituted for the language of S. 3605, in the form of an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The Senate may also substitute the language of S. 3605 for that of H.R. 5116 and pass an amended version of H.R. 5116. Should that happen, the bill would be sent back to the House for its concurrence to the Senate amendment. Should the House vote not to concur, a conference committee would be established to produce a version that both the House and Senate could agree on.

Time is a factor in the passage of the bills. Congress will soon adjourn for the August recess and is expected to remain adjourned until after the November elections.

As with other House and Senate bills affecting …

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