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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Joins CNSF in Urging NSF Investments in USICA Conference Agreement


    Christa Wagner, Manager, Government Relations

    The AAMC joined nearly 140 other members of the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) in a Nov. 23 letter to House and Senate leadership supporting additional funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) in research competitiveness legislation under consideration in Congress.

    Specifically, the coalition responded to a Nov. 17 announcement from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that the two chambers would seek to reconcile the Senate-passed United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (USICA, S. 1260) with related House legislation. The announcement followed a failed attempt during the week of Nov. 15 to attach USICA as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 during Senate consideration.

    USICA and related House legislation aim to increase the country’s global research competitiveness through several mechanisms, including increased funding authorization for the NSF and establishment of a new NSF technology directorate [refer to Washington Highlights, June 11]. The House passed a companion measure to address authorization of NSF funding through the National Science Foundation for the Future Act (H.R. 2225) on June 28 [refer to Washington Highlights, June 17].

    “CNSF, a coalition of organizations united in support for strong and sustained funding for the NSF, respectfully urges that you ensure that the final conference report includes robust sustainable growth in authorized funding for both existing NSF programs – including research, education, and infrastructure efforts across all areas of science and engineering – as well as for a proposed new directorate,” the coalition letter stated. The coalition added that the community “asks that the final bill reflect a bipartisan, bicameral commitment to maintaining U.S. global competitiveness through increased long-term investments in NSF research and education programs.”

    USICA includes language to address research security in higher education, while the related House legislation does not. The AAMC and other higher education associations have raised concerns with these provisions [refer to Washington Highlights, May 21]. The next steps in the conference process and indications of expected timing have not been released.