The House had modified S. 2012, which passed out of the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support (by 85-12 vote), to include their chamber’s energy bill, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 8) and 36 previously-passed House bills, several of which President Obama has threatened to veto.
One of these bills under veto-threat is the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806), a contentious research provision sponsored by the Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Lamar Smith (TX-21) that passed the House last year. H.R. 1806, which would authorize federal research spending, triggered a partisan battle over the nation’s research priorities during markup last year in the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Most Democrats on the committee were opposed to the bill because it would shift resources away from geoscience and would also restrict grant allocations. Conversely, most Republicans on the committee supported the bill as a means of reigning in spending on climate science, an area that they feel the current administration has indulged. President Obama threatened to veto H.R. 1806 before it passed the House as a stand-alone bill last May.
Congress’ next step is to set up a Senate-House conference committee to work out the differences in the two bills.