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Democrats back competitiveness bill

A discussion draft of a bill that would authorize annual increases of 5 percent for several science agencies has been circulated in Congress by Democrats.

The bill would reauthorize the America COMPETES Act, providing funding boosts for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The discussion draft was introduced on 28 October.

“Our nation’s competitiveness continues to be compromised by significant and arbitrary cuts across our discretionary budget and by year-to-year, sometimes month-to-month, uncertainty in the budget,” said Eddie Bernice Johnson from Texas, the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which has jurisdiction over the NSF and other science agencies. Failing to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act would risk sending a “message of defeat”, she added.

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