A key congressional committee is planning a hearing next month on legislation that could give several U.S. science agencies new marching orders. The details are still a secret, but expect fireworks.
The legislation has been drafted by the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in the U.S. House of Representatives. It would update the America COMPETES Act, which in 2007 committed the federal government to expanding research at the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as well as science education across several agencies. It also set government-wide science priorities to be managed by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The 2007 law adopted many of the recommendations in a 2005 report from the National Academies on how to keep the country competitive in a global economy. In addition to authorizing large budget increases for those agencies, the bill advocated for a new energy technology effort at DOE, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. It also called for several initiatives to improve STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.