Dems Thwart GOP Plan To Kill Science Jobs Bill With Porn Provision

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Republican plans to once again bedevil House Democrats by attaching an anti-porn provision to a science jobs bill were thwarted when Dems pulled some parliamentary trickery of their own.

Last month, we told you how Republicans very nearly killed the COMPETES Act by slipping an anti-porn measure into a motion to send the bill back to committee. The move scared several Democrats into voting for the Republican motion, which would have also cut much of the bill’s funding, and leadership pulled the bill off the floor.

The bill passed the House last week. Democrats pulled it off by splitting the Republicans’ motion to recommit into parts, allowing members to vote for the anti-porn measure while voting against language that would have cut tens of millions of dollars from the bill.“By dividing the question, members were not forced to choose between gutting funding and seemingly voting ‘pro-porn,'” science committee spokeswoman Karly Schledwitz told TPM.

Democrats brought the bill, which would increase funding for scientific research and math and science education, to the floor in May. Republicans filed a motion to recommit, which would send the bill back to committee. The motion included major cuts to the funding included in the bill, by cutting new programs and ending authorization in 2013.

Those motions are often defeated. But Republicans inserted language that would prohibit taxpayer money from going to the salaries of employees who’ve been disciplined for viewing pornography at work.

It was enough to spook Democrats into voting for the motion, afraid they’d be labeled “pro-porn” in ads this November.

The Republicans, not surprisingly, were angry about the development.

“I am disappointed that my Democratic colleagues resorted to using a procedural tactic to defeat Republican changes that would have saved over $40 billion and restored the original COMPETES priority of basic research,” science committee ranking member Ralph Hall said in a press release after the vote.

Hall’s spokesman had no comment further than the release, which railed against the use of a “rare procedural tactic” to strike “several bipartisan changes.”

The changes were only bipartisan, of course, because of the anti-porn measure.

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