Note: This story was updated at 9:10 p.m.
A majority of U.S. House members voted for a bill Thursday to set up a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that would include Oak Ridge, but the vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the legislation under special rules.
The vote on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act was 237-180, about 50 votes short of a two-thirds supermajority, said Cindy Kelly, president of the nonprofit Atomic Heritage Foundation.
Though it didn’t pass Thursday in a maneuver that could have quickly sent the bill to the Senate, supporters said the bill has bipartisan support. They remained optimistic that it could still be approved soon.
“We’ve shown there is support for this park and will be working towards the goal of enacting this into law before the end of this year,” said U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican who has championed the legislation to recognize Manhattan Project sites in Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, N.M., and Hanford, Wash. The Manhattan Project was a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II.