Rep. Gordon 'groveling' to get science funding passed in Senate

Gordon’s measure failed twice in the House before passing just hours before the Memorial Day recess.

The first failure came when Republicans inserted a provision banning the use of authorized funds for the salaries of federal employees who have been disciplined for accessing pornography while on the job. "We had to do this little razzle-dazzle that got the pornography thing out," Gordon said.

The second came after Gordon attempted to use a process that avoided amendments but raised the votes needed for passage.

Noting that the same funding cleared with large majorities three years ago, Gordon said the bill's challenges are indicative of Congress’s hyperpartisan climate.

He also said his own push to showcase the private sector's support for the bill through hearings  slowed down the process. The America Competes Act has support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. 

"Part of it was my fault — trying to do it the right way rather than do it the quick way," he said.

Calling for the public to rally behind the bill, Gordon said a dismal report by the National Academy of Sciences helped spur the original round of education and research funding.

The report found that 50 percent of math teachers had neither a degree nor a certification to teach math and that the current generation of children could inherit a lower standard of living than their parents, Gordon said.

That's still a possibility "unless we take action," he said.