Senate Spells Out Science Stimulus | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: January 27, 2009

Senate Spells Out Science Stimulus

Like the House version of the economic stimulus package, the Senate's version boosts science agencies
Department: Government & Policy

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Jan. 23 released highlights of its version of the $825 billion economic stimulus package that was rolled out in the House a week earlier (C&EN, Jan. 26, page 9). Like the House version, the Senate package contains funding for scientific R&D, but the dollar values and the agencies set to benefit are different.

The Senate's version of the proposed legislation would give the National Science Foundation $1.4 billion—$1.6 billion less than the House version. The National Aeronautics & Space Administration would receive $1.5 billion, up from the $600 million included in the House package. The National Institutes of Health would be set to receive $3.5 billion, up from the $2 billion allocated by the House bill.

The Senate's package would also allocate funding for other science-related agencies, including $40 billion for the Department of Energy. It is unclear how much of this funding will go to DOE's Office of Science because details of the breakdown were not available when this story posted. The National Institute of Standards & Technology could receive additional funding from the $5 billion set aside to improve computerized health records.

Organizations representing the scientific community back the Senate's version of the stimulus package. The Science Coalition, a nonprofit organization representing 47 of the nation's leading public and private research universities, strongly supports the inclusion of funding for basic scientific and medical research in the Senate legislation, Coalition President Bill Andresen says. Congress recognizes that "research fuels discovery that leads to innovation and development of new technologies, new industries, and new jobs," he says.

The Senate is scheduled to mark up the proposed legislation today. After both the House and the Senate pass their versions of the stimulus package, a conference committee with representatives from both governing bodies will meet to iron out any differences in their bills.

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