Senate Committee seeks stakeholder input in preparation for COMPETES reauthorization

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July 8, 2015

Following the House’s move in May to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act, the Senate has announced their intention to draft a version of the bill by this fall. The Senate version of the bill would authorize funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and also set policy for the Administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Led by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI), the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will schedule a series of bipartisan working group meetings to gather information and input from stakeholders on the importance of basic research and enhancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for students.

The House passed its own version of COMPETES (H.R. 1806) in May, but received criticism from Democrats and the science community for cutting funding for the geosciences and ARPA-E. The bill specified funding levels for each NSF directorate rather than NSF as a whole; directorate funding decisions were left to NSF administrators in the 2007 and 2013 authorizations of the bill. President Obama has said he would veto the current House bill.

According to E&E News, because the Senate has chosen to hold its own hearings and collect information separate from that collected by the House, the Senate bill will likely contain substantially different language from the House bill.

The committee is taking public comments through August 21 at

Sources: Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; E&E News

Updated August 17, 2015