WASHINGTON – Today, the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education approved by voice vote, H.R. 1867, A bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2008, 2009, and 2010 for the National Science Foundation, and for other purposes.  This legislation authorizes appropriations that are consistent with the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative, which was introduced in February 2006, with a goal of advancing American competitiveness and innovation.  H.R. 1867 authorizes funding to keep the National Science Foundation (NSF) on track to double its research budget within ten years. 

Subcommittee Ranking Member Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) supported the legislation, but noted room for improvement, saying, “The ability to innovate has always set the United States apart, and I believe that the expertise of the NSF has laid the groundwork for that distinguished reputation.  I have said before that writing a bill such as this is particularly challenging because the NSF is typified by exceptional efficiency and success; finding areas of needed change is not an easy task.” 
Ehlers continued, “Nonetheless, we have heard from a number of witnesses, both internal and external to the Foundation, who have offered helpful insights on possible ways to strengthen the NSF… I expect that since this bill has been on somewhat of a fast track, there will be opportunities to improve it later in the process, as we receive more comprehensive comments from NSF stakeholders.”

H.R. 1867 provides a three-year funding authorization for NSF, an agency that provides critical support for researchers, educators, and students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  NSF supports American innovation and competitiveness in many capacities, providing funding for high risk research, while also improving education in the STEM fields.

Science and Technology Committee member and cosponsor of H.R. 1867, Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA), also spoke of the importance of the legislation, saying, “I commend my colleagues for having the vision to keep America competitive by providing the much-needed funding for the National Science Foundation for science and technology programs that will benefit future generations.”