The House version of the bill (H.R. 5116) sponsored by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) passed after three separate votes in May. Now, the bill is under review and modification in the Senate. The Senate version (S.3605) sponsored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) differs slightly in the scope of departments funded and, in an effort to win bipartisan support in a highly partisan Congress, limits the funding to just three years and contains few new initiatives. In fact, the only new initiative was proposed by the ranking Republican in the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) wants to designate $10 million to help universities train science and engineering majors to be K-12 teachers, a model that has been successfully employed in her home state by the UTeach program at the University of Texas, Austin.
In the Senate, the bill must win support in three separate committees: Commerce, Science, and Transportation (headed by Sen. Rockefeller); Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (led by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA); and Energy and Natural Resources (chaired by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM).
Last week, the bill was approved by a key science panel yesterday in Sen. Rockefeller's committee, bringing it one step closer to committee approval and finally to the Senate floor for debate and voting. While changes to the bill could happen at any time during the debate process, you can still voice your support for the proposal by contacting the Senators on each committee. To see if your Senator is a member of any of the above committees, click on the links below:
You can read the text of the House of Representatives version of the bill (H.R. 5116) by visiting the bill summary and status page.