22 December 2010

House and Senate Pass America COMPETES Re-authorization

Posted by John Freeland

America COMPETES Re-authorization, amended by the Senate last Friday, passed the House Tuesday and is headed for Obama’s Signature

Reported by the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education:

Christmas came early today for STEM education. In an unexpected move at the tail end of the “lame duck” session, Congress passed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (H.R. 5116) this afternoon (December 21, 2010). The bill is now on its way to the President’s desk for signature.

The COMPETES Act is game-changing piece of legislation for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, education and makes significant investments in innovation and basic research. The bill includes the STEM Education Coordination Act, which will provide overall coordination of federal programs and activities in support of STEM education. It also reauthorizes a number of other federal STEM education programs including those at the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy.

Retiring Tennessee Congressman Bart Gordon, who wrote and sponsored the bill said

“I cannot think of anything I would rather do as one of my final acts in Congress than sending this bill, with strong bipartisan support, to the president’s desk.”

I think it’s safe to say most scientists, including me, are sad to see Gordon, who is in his early sixties, an avid runner, and the fastest guy on the Hill, leave government. He’ll be missed. Gordon has chaired the Committee on Science and Technology since 2007.

The Committee is responsible for NASA, the Department of Energy, EPA, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), NSF, FAA, NOAA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, FEMA, the U.S. Fire Administration, and United States Geological Survey.