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The debate over a proposal from congressional Republicans that would alter the process of funding research at the National Science Foundation heated up last week with an exchange of pointed public pronouncements. The president's science adviser and a leading Democrat heaped scorn on a bill authored by Representative Lamar Smith (R–TX), the chair of the House of Representatives science committee. In turn, Smith issued statements that accused critics of distorting the legislation's intent for political purposes. But a committee aide offered Science a detailed explanation of that seemed to confirm suspicions that the bill would allow Congress to intrude on the peer-review process. However, there are also hints that the two sides are looking for ways to defuse the controversy.