After a couple of procedural setbacks, the House of Representatives passed a 5-year reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act on Friday May 28th. The legislation provides for 7% annual increases to the budgets of the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy Office of Science, and National Institutes of Standards and Technology -keeping them on a path to double funding by 2016. Sights are now set on the Senate, which aims to pass a companion bill by the July 4th congressional recess.
One issue of concern in the bill for the university research community is an amendment approved by the House that links public universities’ response to information requests from their labor unions with their ability to collect facilities and administrative costs for their research grants. The UW Office of Federal Relations is working towards a modification or elimination of the language in the final bill that emerges.