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Different Sort of Boost

The US House of Representatives passed two bills that would boost scientific research funding, but the bills also contrast with the funding approach taken by a recently passed Senate bill, the New York Times reports.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bill that would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for research and development, with the aim of increasing US competitiveness versus China by focusing on emerging technologies. The House bill, meanwhile, focuses on traditional research programs, the Times says.

"If we are to remain the world leader in science and technology, we need to act now," Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the science committee chair, tells the Times. "But we shouldn't act rashly. Instead of trying to copy the efforts of our emerging competitors, we should be doubling down on the proven innovation engines we have at the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy."

The House bills include a doubling of the research budget for the National Science Foundation over five years and a 7 percent increase in funding for the Energy Department's Office of Science, the Times adds.

These differences, the Wall Street Journal notes, could complicate negotiations over the final bill.