House Republicans, Democrats Introduce Separate COMPETES bills


 On March 6, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced a Democrat-sponsored bill to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act.  The legislation (H.R. 4159) authorizes increases of 5 percent annually for five years for the NSF, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and NIST. The bill also would reauthorize the Regional Innovation Program; reauthorize the National Nanotechnology Initiative; create an Advanced Research Project Agency for Education (ARPA-Ed); and address broadening participation in STEM education.    

Then, on March 10, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-IN) introduced the Republicans’ version of the America COMPETES Act, entitled the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2013 (FIRST Act, H.R. 4186).  FIRST, which covers reauthorizations for NSF, NIST, OSTP, and STEM Education, is one of two bills.  The legislation provides funding for only two years (FY 2014-2015) and would increase funding for NSF at 1.5 percent per year and NIST at 1 percent per year.  The Committee will introduce a second bill to focus on DOE Office of Science at a later date.  The subcommittee has scheduled a markup of FIRST on March 13.