• Why I sometimes despair

    The House this week was debating a bill which would increase the money going to science, research, and training programs.  Granted, I have a conflict of interest her, but that’s a good thing.  We keep hearing people, all over the ideological spectrum, complaining how we’re falling behind in science and going to lose out edge.  So passing this bill would seem sensible.  You don’t know the House:

    [T]he Republican motion to recommit the bill — a parliamentary tactic that gives the minority one final chance to amend legislation — contained language prohibiting federal funds from going “to salaries to those officially disciplined for violations regarding the viewing, downloading, or exchanging of pornography, including child pornography, on a federal computer or while performing official government duties.”

    That provision scared dozens of Democrats into voting with Republicans to approve the motion to recommit. After it became clear the GOP motion was going to pass, dozens of additional Democrats changed their votes from “no” to “yes.” In the end, 121 Democrats voted with Republicans — only four fewer than the number of Democrats who voted with their party.

    But because of additional changes contained in the motion, Democrats decided to pull the bill from consideration immediately following the passage of the motion to recommit.

    The GOP motion also stopped all funding authorizations in two years as opposed to the five years contained in the original bill, abolished each new program established through the legislation, and froze all existing programs at their current funding levels until the federal budget is balanced.

    So we don’t commit the money, eliminate programs (and jobs), and give scientists less hope that funding will continue in the future.  Great job, legislators!

    (h/t Steve Benen)

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