H.R. 5325: America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010

H.R. 5325

America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010

Date
May 20, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 5325, on Wednesday, May 19, 2010, under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  Last week a Republican Motion to Recommit the original COMPETES Bill, H.R. 5116, passed the House by a vote of 292-126.  The Majority then pulled the legislation, is now bring it back to the floor as H.R. 5325. The revised legislation will incorporate all 52 amendments that passed last week, including part of the Republican Motion to Recommit, and reducing the authorization period from five-years to three-years.   

Bill Summary

H.R. 5325, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, would provide a three year authorization of funding at $48 billion for the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to provide for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational programs.  The legislation shifts policy priorities enacted in the 2007 bill to focus more on technology commercialization and research and development relating to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

H.R. 5325, is the same COMPETES Bill (H.R. 5116) that was pulled from the floor last week, revised to include all 52 amendments that passed the floor and certain parts of the Republican Motion to Recommit. 

The changes to the bill are as follows:

1) Rep. Gordon (D-TN):  The Manager's Amendment would make technical and clarifying changes to the bill.  It would amend the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program by requiring entities receiving grants in the amount of less than $1,500,000, to match 30 percent in cash or in-kind; for amounts greater than $1,500,000, entities should match 50 percent in cash or in-kind.

In addition, the amendment would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to submit a report to Congress in regard to the use of high-performance computational modeling and simulation by small- and medium-sized manufacturers.

The amendment would prohibit funds authorized under this Act from employing any individual who has been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, a crime of child molestation, rape, or any other form of sexual assault.

Finally, the amendment prohibits lobbying activities with any appropriated money from Congress.

2) Rep. Cardoza (D-CA):  Would instruct the NIST Director to carry out a green manufacturing and construction initiative that develops an understanding of sustainability in metrics and practices for use in manufacturing and shares that information with manufacturers so that they can adopt the best sustainable manufacturing practices.

3) Rep. Matsui (D-CA):  Would ensure that Smart Grid technologies are included in the list of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities that may be undertaken by a DOE Energy Innovation Hub.

4) Rep. Matsui (D-CA):  Would ensure that the development of new smart grid technologies are included in the Office of Science's research activities as it continues to strengthen its collaborations with the rest of DOE to accelerate the advancement of new energy technologies.

5) Rep. Wu (D-OR):  Would require ARPA-E to make awards designed to overcome the long-term and high-risk barriers relating to its goals and to facilitate submission, where possible by small businesses and entrepreneurs, of funding opportunities for technological innovation and areas of science and technology.

7) Rep. Boswell (D-IA) and Rep. Michaud (D-ME):  Would ensure that biomass technology systems and related courses are included in the list of fields that would be encompassed by the energy systems science and engineering education programs.

8) Rep. Davis (D-IL), Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Honda (D-CA), and Rep. Kildee (D-MI):  Would broaden the definition of "undergraduate student" to include students enrolled in certificate, associate, or baccalaureate degree programs, and that all are eligible for STEM programs.  It would also require that each agency increase participation of underrepresented minority groups in STEM studies and careers.  Finally, it would recommend that the Office of Science and Technology Policy evaluate the role of students involved in STEM programs.

9) Rep. Kanjorski (D-PA):  Would permit a Regional Innovation Center to use funding for interacting with the general public and state and local governments in order to meet the goals of the cluster.

10) Rep. Markey (D-MA):  Would establish a program to support the development and commercial application of clean energy technologies through a Clean Energy Consortium established by the Secretary of Energy. The Consortium would be regionally based and include research universities, national labs, industry, and other state and nongovernmental organizations with research or technology transfer expertise in clean energy technology. The Consortium would have a technology focus to which at least 50 percent of support would be directed. The Consortium would also establish an External Advisory Committee, comprised of members with scientific, technical, industry, financial, and research expertise.  The grant to establish and operate the Consortium is for an amount not more than $10,000,000 per year and is for a period not to exceed 3 years.

11) Rep. McCarthy (D-NY):  Would ensure that any assessments and studies on improving emergency communications build upon conclusions made in existing reports on the matter.

12) Rep. Miller (D-CA):  Would require public institutions of higher education, with respect to employees who are represented by labor organizations and who work on activities or programs supported by this Act, to maintain a policy to respond to union information requests, for information to which the union is legally entitled, on a timely basis in order to be eligible to receive facilities and administrative costs provided by any of the funding sources authorized by this Act.  Failure to comply with such a policy would result in suspension of payments to the institution for facilities and administrative costs until compliance is achieved.

13) Rep. Reyes (D-TX) and Rep. Connolly (D-VA):  Would require the STEM coordinating committee under OSTP to describe the approaches that will be taken by each agency to conduct outreach designed to promote widespread public understanding of career opportunities in the STEM fields.  It also requires the establishment and maintenance of a publicly accessible online database of all federally sponsored STEM education programs.

14) Rep. Sanchez, Loretta (D-CA):  Would include the membership of elementary school and secondary school administrator associations to the President's Advisory Committee on STEM Education.

15) Rep. Bishop (D-NY):  Would direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to carry out a nanomaterial research initiative to develop, or assist in the development of, reference materials, standards, instruments and measurement methods for nanomaterials and derived products. The amendment also calls on NIST to develop data to support the correlation of properties of nanomaterials to any environmental, health, or safety risks.

16) Rep. Barrow (D-GA):  Would require the inclusion of how federal agencies supporting manufacturing research and development will strengthen all levels of manufacturing education and training programs to ensure a well-trained workforce.

17) Rep. Carney (D-PA):  Would require the National Science Foundation to conduct outreach encouraging rural colleges and private sector entities in rural areas to participate in the internship grant program.

18) Rep. Clarke (D-NY):  Would ensure that STEM education programs increase participation by women and underrepresented minority students.

19) Rep. Cohen (D-TX):  Would express a Sense of Congress encouraging the incorporation of an engineering curriculum in K-12 schools.

20) Rep. Cuellar (D-TX):  Would direct the Director of the National Science Foundation to conduct outreach efforts to encourage applications from underrepresented groups.

21) Rep. Gingrey (R-GA):  Would direct the National Science Foundation to establish the Green Chemistry Basic Research and Development program and provide merit-based grants to support green chemistry applications.  Green chemistry is chemistry that involves the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances, and it focuses on preventing pollution and waste from forming in the first place.

22) Rep. Herseth (D-SD):  Would express a sense of Congress to urge NSF to coordinate and collaborate with other federal agencies, including the Office of Science, and to respond to the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences and National Science and Technology Council regarding investments in facilities, and partnership with other agencies when possible.

23) Rep. Holt (R-NJ), Rep. Kind (D-WI), and Rep. Murphy (D-NY):  Would require the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to submit to Congress a national competitiveness and innovation strategy. The strategy must include suggested legislative and executive branch actions and a proposal for metric-based evaluation of improvements in U.S. competitiveness and innovation.

 24) Rep. Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Ehlers (R-MI): Would express th sense of Congress that peer review is an important part of the process of ensuring the integrity of the record of scientific research, and that the National Science and Technology Council working group established under this section should take into account the role that scientific publishers play in the peer review process. 

25) Rep. Honda (D-CA):  Would coordinate federal STEM education programs with the work being done by state-level P-16 and P-20 councils to coordinate, integrate, and improve education throughout all grade levels and the common core standards being developed by the states by adding facilitating improved coordination between these efforts as one of the responsibilities of the Advisory Committee on STEM Education created in the bill.

27) Rep. Jackson-Lee (D-TX):  Would require the STEM Industry Internship Program report to include an economic and ethnic breakdown of the participating students.

28) Rep. Marshall (D-GA):  Would direct the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to consider the needs of rural communities and small businesses when strengthening the collaboration on and coordination of policies relating to innovation and commercialization of new technologies within the Department of Commerce.

29) Rep. Michaud (D-ME):  Would ensure that the Regional Innovation Programs provide collaboration with federal agencies in regard to the needs and challenges of small businesses.

30) Rep. Michaud (D-ME): Would direct the Secretary to prioritize communities impacted by trade when awarding Regional Innovation Cluster grants.

31) Rep. Michaud (D-ME):  Requires the Advisory Committee on STEM Education to consider the unique needs of rural schools.

32) Rep. Ruppersberger (D-MD):  Would clarify the eligibility of the Noyce scholarship to include retired STEM professionals.

33) Rep. Ruppersberger (D-MD):  Would direct the Director of the National Science Foundation to use cyber-enabled-learning to create an innovative STEM workforce and/or to retrain and retain the current STEM workforce to address challenges, including national security and competitiveness.

34) Rep. Boccieri (D-OH), Rep. Schauer (D-MI), Rep. Davis (D-TN), and Rep. Donnelly (D-IN):  Would increase the authorization level for funding for Federal Loan Guarantees for Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing from $50 million to $100 million.

35) Rep. Childers (D-MS): Would require the NIST Director to carry out a disaster resilient buildings and infrastructure program.

36) Rep. Chu (D-CA):  Would clarify that one purpose of the Innovation through Institutional Integration grant program is to help under-represented students in STEM fields transition from 2-year institutions to 4-year institutions of higher education.

37) Rep. Ellsworth (D-IN):  Would ensure funds would not be used to purchase gift items, knickknacks, souvenirs, trinkets, or other items without direct educational value.

38) Rep. Halvorson (D-IL):  Would require the Director of the National Science Foundation to give consideration to the goal of promoting the participation of veterans in the postdoctoral research fellowship program established by section 246 of the bill.

39) Rep. Hare (D-IL): Would express a sense of Congress that when more than one applicant applies for STEM education programs or activities authorized under the COMPETES Act and are considered equal in merit, that the grant making authority shall give additional consideration to the applicant who has not previously received funding and those institutions of higher education in rural areas.

40) Rep. Heinrich (D-NM):  Would add science parks and federal laboratories as eligible recipients for the "Regional Innovation Program."

41) Rep. Heinrich (D-NM):  Would allow the Secretary of Energy to establish an online database of unclassified technologies, capabilities, and resources available at the national laboratories for the purpose of commercial application.

42) Rep. Kissell (D-NM):  Would require the Secretary to consider the amount of the obligation when determining application fees for the newly established Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing Loan Guarantee Program.

43) Rep. Klein (D-FL):  Would instruct the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership within the NIST to evaluate obstacles unique to small manufacturers that prevent them from effectively competing in global markets; provide a comprehensive plan to train the Centers to address such obstacles; and facilitate improved communication between the Centers to assist manufacturers to implement appropriate solutions.

44) Rep. Kratovil (D-MD) and Rep. Connolly (D-VA):  Would encourage scientists and engineers from federal agencies to volunteer in STEM education activities, and it would increase communication and partnerships between scientists and engineers of federal science agencies and elementary and secondary schools and educators.

45) Rep. McNerney (D-CA):  Would add marine and hydrokinetic technology systems to the list of energy efficiency and renewable energy technology systems that would be included in the Department of Energy STEM education initiatives authorized under the section.

46) Rep. Minnick (D-ID):  Would require the President's Advisory Panel on STEM Education to coordinate with state and local workforce programs to better meet their needs.

47) Rep. Moore (D-WI): Would expand the bill's proposed climate and environmental science research of the Earth's atmosphere and biosphere to include the Great Lakes in addition to oceans.

48) Rep. Murphy (D-PA) and Rep. Altmire (D-PA):  Would include in the list of STEM education programs and activities at the Department of Energy a competitive grant program for colleges and universities, including 2 year colleges, to create or expand courses and degree programs in the areas of energy systems science and engineering.

49) Rep. Perriello (D-VA):  Provides that the President's advisory committee on STEM can provide advice to federal agencies including through the interagency committee

50) Reps. Quigley (D-IL) and Flake (R-AZ):  Expresses the sense of Congress that retaining graduate-level talent trained at American universities in STEM fields is critical to enhancing the competitiveness of American businesses.

51) Rep. Salazar (D-CO):  Provides Department of Energy with the authority to conduct training for energy auditors, field technicians, and contractors so they can promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technology.

52) Rep. Schock (R-IL):  Instructs the Secretary of Commerce to give priority to innovation clusters that partner with local Workforce Investment Area Boards.

53) Rep. Space (D-OH):  Instructs the Director of NIST to carry out a program to support research into transformational manufacturing.

54) Rep. Titus (D-NV):  Clarifies that both pre-service and in-service teacher training and professional development would be considered when identifying grand challenges in pre-K-12 STEM education.

H.R. 5325 would adopt the following language from the Republican Motion to Recommit:

  • would reduce the authorization period from five years to three;
  • prohibit funds for salaries to those officially disciplined for violations regarding the viewing, downloading, or exchanging of pornography, including child pornography, on a federal computer or while performing official government duties.

H.R. 5325 will not adopt the following language from the Republican Motion to Recommit:

  • required all new programs in the bill to be eliminated;
  • required a funding freeze for all existing programs at FY2010 appropriated levels for FY2011-2013 unless there is no budget deficit;
  • provide a stipulation to give special consideration for persons with disabilities and disabled veterans in programs included in the bill;
  • included a provision to apply the Solomon Amendment (military recruiters on college campus), to funds or grants to institutions of higher education under this act.

 Title I: Science and Technology Policy

H.R. 5116 requires the National Nanotechnology Initiative to update a strategic plan to guide the results of their work out of the laboratory and into applications that benefits society, to set forth how the program will encourage and support interdisciplinary research and development in nanotechnology, and to propose research in areas of national importance.

The Nanotechnology Initiative Program shall support efforts to introduce nanoscale science, engineering, and technology into undergraduate science and engineering education; including providing access to facilities to companies for the purpose of assisting in development of prototypes of nanoscale products, devices, or processes.

H.R. 5116 requests the Interdisciplinary Research Centers to focus on nanomanufacturing research and to include as part the activities of the center, research on methods and approaches to develop environmentally benign nanoscale products and nanoscale manufacturing processes. 

The bill requires the Program to develop a strategic plan to specify near-term and long-term objectives for the program, and a time frame for achieving those objectives; and to transfer the research and development results into new technologies and applications for the benefit of society.

The bill directs the Director of the National Coordination Office to convene a task force to explore mechanisms for carrying out collaborative research and development activities for cyber-physical systems, through a consortium of appropriate entities with participants from institutions of higher education, federal laboratories, and industry.

H.R. 5116 also directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to ensure the development of formal policies for the management and use of federal scientific collections to improve the quality, organization, access, including online access, and long-term preservation of such collections for the benefit of scientific enterprise.

The bill requires the Director of Science and Technology Policy to establish a working group under the National Science and Technology Council with the responsibility to coordinate federal science agency research and policies related to the dissemination and long-term stewardship of the results of unclassified research, including digital data and peer-reviewed scholarly publications, funded from the federal science agencies. 

Title II: National Science Foundation

H.R. 5116 authorizes appropriations for the National Science Foundation for FY2011-FY2015, at the following amounts:

  • FY2011:  $7,481,000,000;
  • FY2012:  $8,127,000,000;
  • FY2013:  $8,764,000,000;
  • FY2014:  $9,436,000,000;
  • FY2015:  $10,161,000,000

H.R. 5116 requires the Foundation to apply a broader impacts review criterion to achieve goals such as:

  • increase economic competitiveness of the U.S.;
  • development of a globally competitive STEM workforce;
  • increase participation of women and under-represented minorities in STEM;
  • increase partnerships between academia and industry;
  • improve pre-k-12 STEM education and teacher development;
  • improve undergraduate STEM education;
  • increase public scientific literacy;
  • and increased national security.

The bill would require the NSF to use at least five percent of its research budget to fund high-risk, high-reward basic research proposals.  Support for facilities and infrastructure, including operation and maintenance of facilities, shall not be counted as part of the research budget for this purpose.

The bill would require the NSF to award grants in amounts not to exceed $5 million over a period of up to five years to interdisciplinary research collaborations that are likely to assist in addressing critical challenges to national security, competitiveness, and societal well-being.

This measure creates a pilot program to award innovation inducement cash prizes in any area of research supported by the National Science Foundation. The types of contests to be considered shall be contests in which the award is to the first team or individual who accomplishes a stated objective; and in which the winner is the team or individual who comes closest to achieving an objective within a specified time. The NSF shall consult widely within and outside the federal government; and give priority to high-risk, high-reward research challenges.

The prizes under this pilot program shall consist of federal appropriated funds and any funds raised through donations authorized by the Foundation.  The NSF may announce up to five prize competitions through the end of fiscal year 2013; the Director may determine the amount of each prize award based on prize topic, but no award shall be less than $1 million or greater than $3 million.  The bill authorizes to be appropriated for these competitions $12 million for fiscal years 2011 through 2013.

The NSF may convene an expert panel to select a winner of the prize competition.  If the panel is unable to select a winner, the Director of the National Science Foundation shall determine the winner of the prize.

The bill reduces the 50 percent non-federal match in cash or in-kind to a 30 percent in cash match for the Robert Noyce Scholarship program.  The program awards grants to institutions of higher education to provide scholarships and stipends to recruit math and science teachers.

The measure requests that institutions of higher education chartered to serve large numbers of students with disabilities shall have a designation consistent with those of other institutions that serve populations underrepresented in STEM, to ensure that institutions that serve persons with disabilities can benefit from STEM bridge programs.

H.R. 5116 directs the NSF and the Secretary of Education to collaborate in regard to identifying, prioritizing, and developing strategies to address grand challenges in research and development on the teaching and learning of STEM at the pre-k-12 level.

Title III: STEM Education

H.R. 5116 would require the Director of the Office of Science and Technology to establish a committee under the National Science and Technology Council with the responsibility to coordinate federal programs and activities in support of STEM education, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Education, and all other federal agencies that have programs in support of STEM education.

The bill requests the president to establish or designate an advisory committee on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.  The advisory committee established by the president shall be chaired by at least 2 members of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, with the remaining members consisting of non-federal members who are qualified to provide the president with advice and information regarding STEM education.

The bill would allow the Secretary of Energy to appoint or designate a Director of STEM education, a position intended to oversee all programs and activities in the Department in support of STEM education, including energy systems and engineering education.

H.R. 5116 would authorize green energy education, providing higher education with curriculum in support of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities related to advanced energy research of high performance buildings and architecture.

Title IV: National Institute of Standards and Technology

H.R. 5116 provides the National Institute of Standards and Technology with authorization of appropriations, FY2011-FY2015, of the following amounts:

  • FY2011:  $991,100,000;
  • FY2012:  $992,400,000;
  • FY2013:  $1,079,809,000;
  • FY2014:  $1,126,227,000;
  • FY2015:  $1,191,955,000

The bill creates an Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, who would serve as the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The bill requests the Director to reorganize the scientific and technical research and services laboratory program into six units, from the current ten.  However, the reorganization of the NIST laboratory is already in the process; Congressional approval is not necessary in regard to reorganization.

The bill would assign the National Institute of Standards and Technology to promote collaboration among federal departments, agencies, and private sector stake-holders in the development and implementation of international technical standards.

The measure makes modifications to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, including providing community colleges with information about the job skills needed in small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses. 

In addition, the bill establishes an innovative services initiative to assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers in reducing their energy usage and environmental waste, accelerating the domestic commercialization of new product technologies, including components for renewable energy systems.  It also limits the federal cost-share for MEP centers to 50 percent of the cost in fiscal years 2011 through 2015.

H.R. 5116 establishes a new Bioscience Research Program to support research and development of standard reference materials, measurements, methods, and genomic and other data to advance:  biological drug research and development; molecular diagnostics; medical imaging technologies; and personalized medicine.

The bill also allows the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish research centers at institutions of higher education through a competitive application process to conduct research that furthers the objectives of the bioscience research program.  However, the National Institute of Standards and Technology already has the authority to implement such research centers. 

The measure would also allow the NIST to establish a research initiative to support the development of emergency communication and tracking technologies for use in locating trapped individuals in confined spaces, such as underground mines, and other shielded environments.

Title V: Innovation

H.R. 5116 establishes an Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to foster innovation and the commercialization of new technologies, products, processes, and services.  The program would be responsible for advancing the commercialization of research and development, including federally funded research and development.

The bill also creates a program to provide loan guarantees for obligations to small- or medium-sized manufacturers for the use of production of innovative technologies.  A loan guarantee may be made under such a program for a project that reequips, expands, or establishes a manufacturing facility in the United States.  Eligible borrowers are those that are small- or medium-sized manufacturers.

A loan guarantee shall not exceed 80 percent of the principal of the loan, as stipulated at the time the loan is issued.  The measure authorizes $50 million for each fiscal year 2011-2015 for the loan guarantees.

The measure would also provide the Secretary the right to charge and collect fees for loan guarantees in an amount the Secretary determines are sufficient to cover applicable administrative expenses. 

Finally, this section authorizes to be appropriated $50 million for each of fiscal years 2011 through 2015 to provide for the cost of loan guarantees.

H.R. 5116 would permit the Secretary of Commerce to establish a regional innovation program to encourage and support the development of innovative strategies, in order to facilitate market development of products and services.  The establishment of this program would allow the Secretary to award grants to eligible recipients for activities relating to the formation and development of regional innovation clusters.

Title VI: Department of Energy

H.R. 5116 stipulates that the mission of the Office of Science shall able to provide scientific discoveries, capabilities, and other scientific tools to transform the understanding of nature and to advance energy, economic, and national security in the United States.

The bill would also request the Office of Science to put greater emphasis on advancing our understanding of the earth's climate through research in atmospheric and environmental sciences and climate change. 

H.R. 5116 provides the Department of Energy's Office of Science with authorization of appropriations, FY2011-FY2015, of the following amounts:

  • FY2011:  $5,247,000,000;
  • FY2012:  $5,614,000,000;
  • FY2013:  $6,007,000,000;
  • FY2014:  $6,428,000,000;
  • FY2015:  $6,878,000,000

The bill extends the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) through FY2015 and shifts the programmatic emphasis toward facilitating the commercial application of energy technologies developed under ARPA-E and other government sponsored research and development programs.

The measure increases ARPA-E's independence within the Department of Energy by allowing the agency to hire and maintain a staff with sufficient qualifications and expertise to enable the program to carry out its mandated responsibilities.

H.R. 5116 provides the ARPA-E with authorization of appropriationsfor FY2011-FY2015, of the following amounts:

  • FY2011:  $300,000,000;
  • FY2012:  $450,000,000;
  • FY2013:  $600,000,000;
  • FY2014:  $800,000,000;
  • FY2015:  $1,000,000,000

The bill provides the Secretary of Energy with authority to create a program that enhances economic, environmental, and energy security by making grants available to establish and operate Energy Innovation Hubs.  This measure would create one centralized location, comprised of government, academic, and industry experts to collaborate on research and development, and commercial application of advanced energy technologies, in areas not being served by the private sector.

The measure provides the Energy Innovation Hubs with authorization of appropriations for FY2011-FY2015, of the following amounts:

  • FY2011:  $110,000,000;
  • FY2012:  $135,000,000;
  • FY2013:  $195,000,000;
  • FY2014:  $210,000,000;
  • FY2015:  $210,000,000

The measure directs the Department of Energy to make funds available to the National Laboratories for the federal cost-share of cooperative research and development agreements.  It requests that special consideration is given to small business firms in the process to determine which research and development projects receive funding.

Title VII: Miscellaneous

This measure provides a sense of Congress that the programs and activities authorized in this act correspond with the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences' 2005 Report entitled, "Rising about the Gathering Storm."

This measure also provides special consideration for institutions of higher education, serving populations underrepresented in STEM, that serve persons with disabilities, including disabled veterans.

 

Background

In August 2007, Congress passed the America COMPETES Act (P.L.110-69) in response to the concerns of the business and academic communities with regard to America's global competitiveness.  The bill authorized appropriations targeting investments in science and technology grant programs, energy research, and engineering, science research, technology and mathematics (STEM) education, from K-12 through post-secondary.

The 2007 law was enacted in part as a response to a report issued in 2005 by the National Academies called "Rising above the Gathering Storm."  The report showed U.S students' performance in math and science was below that of other developed nations.

The America COMPETES Act of 2007 authorized a three-year, $43.3 billion bill through FY2010, which placed the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy's Office of Science on a 7-year "doubling path."

Possible Member Concerns:

Increased Spending:  At a time of unsustainable government spending and large federal deficits, H.R. 5325 authorizes nearly $48 billion.  This amount represents $9.5 billion above the FY2010 baseline extended three year and is in addition to the five billion dollars received in the stimulus bill. 

Increased Government:  The new spending would create at least six new programs, several that involve activities not associated with research and development, and others that are duplicative or unnecessary. The following are new and potentially duplicative programs:  Department of Energy "Energy Innovation Hubs," Department of Energy "Clean Energy Consortium" Program, National Science Foundation Pilot Program on Prizes, Department of Commerce Loan Guarantee Program, Department of Commerce "Regional Innovation Clusters, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology "Innovative Services Initiative".

Policy Concerns:  The original 2007 legislation passed Congress with bipartisan support-the consensus being that the priority of the bill was to focus on the important needs of basic research and development.  This bill shifts those priorities, both through the implementation of new programs and the modification of existing programs, to focus on technology commercialization, which many members may consider to be corporate welfare. 

In addition to the basic research and development policy shift, the bill also expands its emphasis on global warming research and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  In particular, the Office of Science requests greater emphasis on advancing our understanding of the earth's climate through research of atmospheric, environmental sciences, and climate change.

Finally, the revised bill, H.R. 5325, would require federal agency enforcement of state and local labor laws.  The bill stipulates that any public university receiving funds under this bill is required to maintain an "information policy;" failure to respond within 15 days to any union request for information would result in the threat of losing federal funds.  This would place federal agencies awarding funding in the role of administering state labor laws.

Cost

The original CBO score for the COMPETES Bill, H.R. 5116 would have authorized appropriations totally $86 billion over the 2011-2015 periods.  Assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the legislation would cost about $65 billion over the 2011-2015 periods, and about $20 billion after 2015.

At this time, there is not a revised CBO score for H.R. 5325, however, the bill provides an authorization for appropriation of $48 billion over three-years.