It was a good day for science in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In back-to-back votes last night, members overwhelmingly approved two bills that would authorize massive spending increases at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science. One calls for more than doubling NSF’s current annual budget of $8.5 billion to $17.9 billion by 2026, and the other would give the Office of Science a 63% boost, to $11.1 billion, over the same 5-year period.
The votes were nearly identical: 345 to 67 for NSF (H.R. 2225), and 351 to 68 for DOE (H.R. 3593). Every Democrat voted in favor, while Republicans backed each bill by a two-to-one margin. Conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats found common ground in seeing NSF and DOE research as a way to help the country compete successfully against China, although Republicans emphasized the threat from Asia whereas Democrats cited scientific opportunities as the impetus for more spending.