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Competitiveness Initiative moves forward

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce accepted President Bush’s budget requests for basic research programs at the National Science Foundation and the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce accepted President Bush’s budget requests for basic research programs at the National Science Foundation and the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, reports Inside Higher Ed. The move gives a green light to fully fund the the American Competitiveness Initiative. The funding would still have to be approved by the full Committee and a House vote, as well as similar appropriations on the Senate side.

“The president’s initiative is a down payment on America’s competitive future. The nation’s research universities urge the full House and then the Senate to sustain the level of support approved today,” said Robert Berdahl, president of the Association of American Universities, said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

Some of the funding highlights in the legislation are:

  • $6 billion for the National Science Foundation, which is $16.2 million above the administration’s request and $35.7 million more than the 2006 amount.
  • Restoration of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s budget for aeronautics research, and add $75 million to the White House request for the agency’s space science programs.
  • Funding for $104 million for research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The passage of this legislation, along with the recently approved spending bill for the Department of Energy and the House subcommittee’s approval of the NSF and NASA research budgets, would put Congress on a path to back President Bush’s goal to double federal spending on basic research in the physical sciences within a decade.