House and Senate appropriators both propose to increase the National Science Foundation’s annual budget by more than 10% for fiscal year 2022 and endorse the Biden administration’s request to create a new directorate in the agency.
Senate Democrats have followed their House counterparts in proposing large budget increases across science agencies for fiscal year 2022, but the lack of an agreement with Republicans on overall spending for the year has clouded the outlook for the final budget.
As part of its broader push on innovation legislation, the Senate is proposing to dramatically expand EPSCoR, a program that channels research funds to states that have historically received a small share of science agency funding. Counterpart House legislation does not recommend expanding the program, setting it up as an important point of negotiation.
Allocating its share of a special $3.5 trillion spending package Democrats are working to move through Congress, the House Science Committee has prioritized infrastructure renovation and research facility projects across several agencies, as well as climate science and clean energy R&D.
The Biden administration is requesting budget increases for many existing STEM education programs for fiscal year 2022 and several science agencies are proposing new activities aimed at diversifying both their own workforces and the broader STEM community.
The Senate passed a landmark competitiveness policy package this week containing the Endless Frontier Act proposal for a multi-billion-dollar technology R&D initiative. Key members of the House are now crafting a compromise proposal they regard as better-suited to existing agency strengths.
The National Science Foundation’s budget request for fiscal year 2022 fleshes out the Biden administration’s vision for adding a technology directorate to the agency and provides details on how the pandemic has disrupted facility construction projects.
The Senate is considering major expansions to research security policy as part of debate on the Endless Frontier Act, including a proposal to empower the government to block universities from accepting certain foreign gifts and contracts.
The Endless Frontier Act is headed to the Senate floor next week despite an unresolved feud over the roles the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy should play in the flagship R&D initiative the legislation proposes.
The House Science Committee held a hearing last week to solicit ideas for bolstering the U.S. research enterprise, seeking to inform bipartisan innovation bills that it plans to advance in the coming months.