WASHINGTON—One of the most frequent complaints about Congress is how long it takes to get something done. Last month Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) found out that trying to move too fast may be an even bigger problem.

On July 10 Domenici introduced a bill (S. 1480) to create a federal advisory board and governmentuniversity-industry consortium to map and sequence the human genome. The bill, which would have set up cooperative research efforts on semiconductors and superconducting materials as well, gave a starring role to the Department of Energy’s national laboratories. Dispensing with committee hearings, the former chairman of the Senate Budget Committee was poised July 21 to offer his bill as an amendment to the Omnibus Trade Act being voted on by the Senate.

It was no surprise that Domenici, who represents a state that is home to Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories, would favor DOE. And he probably...

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