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The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (HR 1806)

Today, the House will be debating the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (HR 1806).  The bill has been developed via a partisan process and House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) have not agreed at all on its merits.  Chairman Smith argues that his proposal would better focus limited dollars on what he would consider to be “appropriate” federal research; Ranking Member Johnson supports greater autonomy for research agencies.  The debate will begin this afternoon and is expected to be contentious.  While research and academic leaders say that some parts of this bill are better than versions of the proposal Chairman Smith has offered in previous years, most believe it would still seriously damage the U.S. research enterprise.  While it  could be approved by the House, the Senate is expected to develop a more balanced proposal later this year.  The Council on Undergraduate Research has joined calls for improvements to the bill and has urged support for the alternative approach to updating programs at federal research agencies offered by Ranking Member Johnson—a longtime supporter of undergraduate research and recent recipient of the CUR Honorary Fellow award.  The floor debate can be viewed here.


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