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And From the Other Side

US Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced legislation last week to reauthorize the America COMPETES Act, ScienceInsider's Jeffrey Mervis reports.

He adds that this bill is "meant to be a counterweight" to one before the House of Representatives. That legislation, dubbed the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act of 2014, would impose restrictions on what the National Science Foundation can fund and has drawn criticism from scientific groups and the Obama administration.

The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2014, however, has been praised by the Association of American Universities as the bill includes “robust but sustainable funding increases" for NSF and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Mervis also says there is a "glimmer of hope for bipartisan agreement in the US Senate" on science funding.

"While the current legislation was drafted by the majority, Senator [John] Thune [R-SD] is committed to working with Chairman Rockefeller to identify areas of consensus," Rachel Millard, communications director for Thune and for Republicans on the science panel, tells Mervis.

"COMPETES has been a bipartisan ‎issue in the past, and we hope a bipartisan package will also move [through] this Congress," she adds.

However, Mervis says this may be unlikely as Congress comes back from recess in early September for two weeks before leaving again and not returning until after the November elections.