At a markup last week, Rep. Frank D. Lucas, R-Okla., the ranking member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, called it “putting the cart before the horse.”
“We have yet to settle major policy disagreements between the House and Senate, which is what we should be spending our time on instead of this partisan spending spree,” Lucas said. “I have serious concerns that this reconciliation process will stall all of the momentum that we have to get our competitiveness bills across the finish line and to the president’s desk.”
Lucas proposed an amendment to the committee’s $45 billion budget reconciliation proposal that would prohibit any of the funding from being used by NSF to establish a new technology and innovation directorate, a key piece of both the House and Senate authorization proposals.
‘Guaranteed to undercut’
“Without this amendment, this bill is guaranteed to undercut this committee’s ability to come to an agreement with the Senate on what the future of NSF should be,” Lucas said. “And, most troublesome, I’m concerned it will give the majority leader the means to bypass the House and pressure the NSF into his version of the new directorate.”
Disagreements between senior House and Senate lawmakers over how the new directorate should operate permeated the debate over both authorization bills this summer. While the directorate in the Senate proposal focused exclusively on countering China’s ambitions in advanced fields, the House version was aimed at addressing societal challenges such as climate change.
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