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Science (plus anti-porn) bill gets majority vote, but is defeated anyway

Politics is very weird and parliamentary procedure is enough to make you crazy.

Politics is very weird and parliamentary procedure is enough to make you crazy.

This week, we've been following the strange, winding path of H.R. 5116, which became H.R. 5325 when Republicans added an anti-porn rider to what was essentially a science and education bill.

The final vote on the revised America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 was 261-148, but since it didn't get the two-thirds majority required by for bills considered as "a suspension," the bill didn't pass.

Yep, it won a majority of 113 votes, but died anyway. Sigh.

There's a human story here, beyond just the politics. There were more than 48 separate hearings involved, along with multiple drafts of a bill presented before the House. That's a tremendous amount of human hours by elected representatives, their staffs, the teams trying to get the bill passed, the teams trying to prevent the bill from passing, the back-room deals, the back-room schemes, the time spent poring over legalities, and the debate.

And yet, it was all for naught.

No progress was made and science funding, well, do we really need science when we have Real Housewives of New Jersey on TV?

My opinion

This was a tough choice. America's already spending way more than it should, but that's because we were dumb enough to give it all to banks and insurers who were "too big to fail".

Unfortunately, the cost for all that largess (and the ensuing million-dollar bonuses the management of those enterprises somehow managed to get away with paying themselves) is that programs for real American competitiveness are drying up.

America COMPETES was one. It involved funding for nanotech and nanomanufacturing research, technology transfer, large scale research of national importance, cyber technology, education, and a lot of other initiatives America needs.

The space program is another. Down here in Brevard County (I live near Cape Canaveral), many of our residents are deeply worried that the space program may be grinding to a halt.

Everything from scratch-resistant lenses for your eyeglasses to pacemakers have come out of the space program. There's no doubt we don't need to go to other planets or fling men into orbit, but the technological side-effects of our space program have been profound.

Great. So instead of funding science research and supporting American competitiveness, we flood AIG enough money so their executives could get California spa treatments and go on English hunting trips.

We are not amused.

See also: From May 17: Republicans nuke science bill by forcing porn down Dem throats From May 19: Breaking news: House Science & Technology Committee reintroduces science bill, with porn ban intact