The COMPETES Act renewal, which would provide additional funding for scientific research and education, and is targeted towards technological development and commercialization was dealt a blow yesterday as Republicans pulled more obstructionist crap. Before the Republican Party was completely taken over by the enraged Uruk-hai wing of their party, they would have not opposed this. But movement conservativism means party before country (italics mine):
House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., Thursday blasted what he described as a “cynical” motion to recommit offered by Republicans and passed on a 292-126 vote to legislation that would reauthorize a law aimed at doubling basic research funding at key science agencies with the hope of boosting U.S. competitiveness.
Gordon said the motion offered during House debate on the measure would “gut” the bill, known as the America COMPETES Act, by reducing authorized funding levels to 2010 levels and reauthorizing the measure for three years instead of five while cutting some provisions such as the Energy Department’s ARPA-E program aimed at funding high-risk, high-reward energy research….
The committee approved the bill last month on a bipartisan vote, Gordon noted and it is widely backed by business, technology and other groups. Baird said that the measure would provide the “seed corn” for tomorrow’s innovations and jobs and that Republicans didn’t just “eat the seed corn, they smashed it up.”
And what was that cynical maneuver the Republicans used to tank the bill? They added a poison pill–a porn pill to be precise (italics mine):
…the 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.
We don’t have a two party system. We have a moderate to conservative party, the Democrats, and a gang of political sociopaths and lunatics who place blind allegiance to dogma over the welfare of their fellow citizens, known as Republicans.
As long as the Republican Party exists in its current form, the Overton Window will be dragged so far towards lunacy, the ability to get anything useful done will be impossible.