U.S. National Science Foundation could get $600 million in pandemic relief bill
|sciencemag.org 22 Feb 2021 at 10:56|
Insider has learned it is expected to be added to the legislation before the full House votes on the package later this week. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) would get a one-time budget increase of $150 million. The money comes from a $750 million allocation made available to the House science committee, led by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (DTX), for programs under its jurisdiction.
Higher education advocates have been urging Congress to pay special attention to researchers just starting their careers, citing the devastating impact of shuttered labs, hiring freezes, and travel restrictions on graduate students, postdocs, and new faculty members. Last monthJohnson and the committees top Republican, Representative Frank Lucas (OK), reintroduced a measure that would authorize NSF to spend $250 million a year on fellowships to support such early career scientists. That bill ( H.R. 144 ) is not part of the COVID-19 relief package, but its target audience is expected to benefit from the influx of money to NSF.
NSF and NIST traditionally enjoy bipartisan support in Congress. Sources tell
Insider they expect the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which oversees the same two agencies, to endorse a similar allocation when that body takes up the overall relief measure in coming weeks. Leaders of the Democratic-controlled Congress and President Joe Biden say their goal is to enact the relief package by mid-March, before the jobless benefits and other provisions in previous legislation expires.