On April 15, US House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R.1806). This legislation is a two year reauthorization of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and some programs within the Department of Energy (DoE). This legislation is scheduled for consideration by the full committee on Wednesday, April 22.
This legislation sets funding levels for NSF and faced immediate criticism upon introduction for politicizing research priorities. The bill would cut the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate by about 45 percent below the FY2015 enacted levels, and would cut the Geosciences Directorate by about 8 percent below FY2015 enacted levels. Funding levels in the bill are the same for FY2016 and FY2017.
Under the Department of Energy, the legislation would authorize ARPA-E at $140 million for FY2016 and FY2017, a cut of $140 million from the FY2015 enacted level of $280 million, and $185 million below the President’s FY2016 request of $325 million. The Office of Science would receive an increase and would be authorized at $5.3 billion, consistent with the President’s FY2016 request, and above the FY2015 enacted level of $5.1 billion.
For FY2016 and FY2017, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program within the National Institute of Standards and Technology would be authorized at $125 million. This is $5 million below the FY2015 enacted level of $130 million and $16 million below the President’s FY2016 request of $141 million.
A recent article in Science discussed the challenges of America COMPETES Reauthorization.