WASHINGTON – The full House today passed H.R. 1867, The National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2007, a Science and Technology Committee bill that authorizes funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) through fiscal year 2010.  The bill keeps NSF on track to double its budget in ten years, as targeted in the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI).  The ACI, introduced last February, seeks to keep America the most innovative and competitive economy in the world by doubling the federal government’s investment in physical science research over 10 years.  H.R. 1867 passed by a vote of 399 to 17.

“The National Science Foundation is the primary source of federal funding for non-medical basic research conducted at colleges and universities, and serves as a catalyst for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education reform at all levels,” said Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Science and Technology Committee and one of the bill’s cosponsors.  “The returns that we receive from our NSF investments far exceed the costs.

“In addition,” Hall continued, “NSF’s competitive peer-review process for receiving federal funding is to be an example for all federal agencies, and one in which I hope all of my colleagues more fully recognize as an appropriate means of investment.”

Research and Science Education Subcommittee Ranking Member, Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), who is an original cosponsor of the bill, added, “NSF research and activities touch every state of this nation and provide tremendous support at all levels of education… Continuing support for fundamental research lays the groundwork for innovations in other disciplines that directly impact the lives of every American. We are here today to authorize a continued investment in this type of NSF ground-breaking work.”

An amendment offered by Dr. Ehlers was agreed to by voice vote, improving the bill by expressing that the Sense of Congress is that the math and science partnership programs at NSF and the Department of Education are complementary and should collaborate to work more efficiently.

NSF’s mission is unique among the federal government’s scientific research agencies in that it is to support science and engineering across all disciplines: universities, colleges, K-12 schools, businesses, and other research institutions throughout the United States. Virtually all of this support is provided through competitive, merit-reviewed grants and cooperative agreements.  NSF’s funding has remained relatively flat over the past decade and this legislation helps to reestablish the agency as the premier research institution in the world.