Taking issue with its counterpart in the U.S. House of Representatives, a Senate panel has embraced how the National Science Foundation (NSF) does its business in a bill that sets policies and recommends funding levels for NSF over the next 5 years.
The proposed legislation, released Friday afternoon in draft form by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, calls on Congress to increase NSF’s budget by nearly 40%, to $9.9 billion, by 2019. It also endorses NSF’s current policies for reviewing grant proposals and—in sharp contrast to a House bill—emphasizes the importance of the social sciences as part of a balanced research portfolio.
“[T]he Federal science agencies should receive sustained and steady growth in funding for research and development activities, including basic research, across a wide range of disciplines, including … [the] social, behavioral, and economic sciences,” declares the 146-page Senate bill, titled the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014. The legislation, which sets policies affecting research programs at NSF and the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as science education activities across the federal government, would replace the 2010 America COMPETES Act, which expired last year.