May 28, 2014—The Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act continues to be debated in the House. The bill, which would reauthorize the National Science Foundation for two years, includes many provisions of concern to the university and science community. APLU also joined a group applauding the Senate’s decision to put a hold on patent reform and is supporting House passage of the CJS Appropriations bill as cleared by the Appropriations Committee earlier this month.
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee convened to markup HR 4186, the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act last week and is expected to continue the debate this week. APLU sent a letter to Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) expressing some serious concerns with the bill.
The Committee considered and debated 28 amendments. A summary of all the amendments offered can be found here. More information on each amendment, including language and status (pass, fail, withdrawn, roll call vote requested) is available on the Science Committee website. The Committee is currently scheduled to convene Wednesday late afternoon to vote on remaining amendments and on the bill. Unless the bill is significantly amended to address our main concerns, APLU will urge for a “no” vote.
APLU joined with a group of university and industry associations in applauding Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy’s (D-VT) decision to delay a markup on potential patent legislation. APLU is thankful for the continued work and consideration of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on this issue, and looks forward to working together in the future to find a solution. APLU joined university and industry associations in sending a letter to the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing opposition to the draft legislation.
The full House of Representatives is expected to begin consideration the House FY2015 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill (H.R. 4660) today and APLU released a statement of support for parts of the legislation. While the bill provides relatively good funding levels for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and for NASA science programs, especially given the tight allocation for the Subcommittee, the funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is less than what APLU has been advocating for and we will continue to seek opportunities to address those concerns as the legislative process continues.