The House of Representatives today passed a bill 397-25 that would authorize the first three years of a five-year doubling of the budget of the National Science Foundation. Democratic Members supported the bill by a margin of 201-3.
H.R. 4664, the "Investing in America's Future Act", has its origins in legislation introduced 14 months ago by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). That bill, H.R. 1472, authorized the first four years of a five-year doubling of the NSF budget and was co-sponsored by 16 Democratic Members of the Science Committee. Many of the provisions in H.R. 1472 are contained in the bill that passed the Science Committee in May and the House today.
Rep. Johnson said, " I am pleased that the we were successful in convincing the Republicans to see the wisdom of supporting a major increase in the NSF budget. Science supporters from across the political spectrum have advocated substantially more resources for our nation's premier science agency. Today's bill is a good start on a plan to dramatically increase the budget."
Rep. Ralph M. Hall (TX), Ranking Democratic Member of the Science Committee, said, "House passage of a five-year doubling year for NSF is a win-win situation - a win for federal support of science and a win for the Republicans and Democrats in the House who were able to come together and find a common solution. I compliment Chairman Boehlert who worked with us to come to an agreement on a bill that all of us can enthusiastically support."
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said, "By increasing the amount of money available for grants, the National Science Foundation will be able to greatly enhance opportunities for scientific inquiry and will generate invaluable progress in a wide range of fields. The resulting discoveries will help drive economic growth and enhance the quality of life for all Americans."
Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) said, "Investment in research and development is one of the single largest contributing factors to the nation's past, present and future economic growth. The federal government must play an integral role in the longer-term, basic research that leads to fundamental innovations. Over the last few years, other priorities have overshadowed this goal, and as a result long-term research is threatened at a time when it is most critical. It is essential that we invest in basic research to ensure that the productivity gains generated by improved computing performance continue. HR 4664 is an important step toward restoring balance to our scientific priorities."
Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) said, "The NSF Authorization Act not only sets the NSF on the path to double its funding over the next five years, but it also provides $30 million for the NSF to award grants to minority-serving institutions to enhance the quality of undergraduate science, mathematics, and engineering education. These institutions serve a unique purpose. They educate and train underserved, and often overlooked, segments of our population."
"Every single one of the jobs the Department of Labor lists in the top ten 'fastest growing occupations' between now and 2010 requires specialized knowledge in the fields of math and science. The NSF authorization bill will provide adequate resources for technology, math, and science programs that will directly contribute to students' success in those fields," said Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA).
Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL) added, "The important research conducted at the National Science Foundation leads to advances that strengthen our national security and our economy. This bill will provide the resources necessary to fulfill this mission."
Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) commented that, "As a cosponsor of H.R. 4664, I support this important bill that will put the NSF on track to double its budget in five years. We all recognize that investing in basic research is critical for a strong economy, global competitiveness, and national security. I'm proud that the largest NSF grant in the field of atomic, molecular, optical and plasma physics was awarded last year to JILA, the joint institute of the University of Colorado and NIST. On average, NSF annually awards grants totaling $250 million to more than fifty institutions in Colorado, including the University of Colorado and the University Consortium for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.
Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) said, " NSF funds cutting-edge research in science and technology and supports research and education programs that are crucial to technological advances in the private sector and for training the next generation of scientists and engineers. I am pleased with the accomplishments that NSF has made in its research and education initiatives and I strongly support the doubling of the NSF's budget. As the former Superintendent of Schools in my state of North Carolina, I have worked for many years to improve science and mathematics education in our schools. Appropriate investments in the NSF are critical to enable students to compete in today's knowledge-based economy.