In DepthU.S. Science Policy

Biden, Congress roll out big plans to expand NSF

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Science  09 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6538, pp. 112-113
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6538.112

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Summary

The idea of massively expanding the budget and mission of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help the United States out-innovate China is gaining political momentum in Washington, D.C. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–NY) has revised his year-old bill that would create a technology directorate at NSF. The bipartisan bill retains a proposed $100 billion boost for the agency, but is vague about how much would go to the new directorate. On 31 March, President Joe Biden included the new directorate and a $50 billion bump for NSF as part of his $2.3 trillion proposal to upgrade the nation's aging infrastructure. And on 26 March, Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), chair of the science committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, backed both a new directorate and a larger NSF budget as part of a bill reauthorizing programs at the $8.5 billion agency. Congress is expected to begin hashing out the legislative details as early as next week. And Biden's vocal support for revamping NSF makes it more likely that something will happen.

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