Science Funding Legislation Hits a Snag
Legislation aimed at strengthening federal support for academic research ran (at least temporarily) into a buzzsaw of Congressional concern Thursday over continuing expansion of the federal government. The measure, which would renew the America COMPETES law that set Congress on a path to double the budgets of the National Science Foundation and other federal physical sciences agencies, was sent back to the House of Representatives science committee after a majority of lawmakers bowed to Republican critiques that the bill would create too many new programs and authorize far too much federal spending. Democrats said they reluctantly pulled the bill before a final up or down vote. While Republicans raised substantive objections to the measure, they also flogged the NSF for failing to aggressively punish employees who had viewed pornography. “I’m disappointed that politics trumped good policy," said Rep. Bart Gordon, the Tennessee Democrat who heads the science panel. "The minority was willing to trade American jobs and our nation’s economic competitiveness for the chance to run a good political ad."