Two weeks after the Senate’s passage of its U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the House Science Committee took its next steps in advancing legislation to support future U.S. research, development and competitiveness with its approval of H.R. 2225, the National Science Foundation for the Future Act. The bipartisan bill represents the committee’s alternative to the Endless Frontier Act, and incorporates a host of new legislation recently introduced by members of the committee.
Our latest legislative roundup provides a summary of the committee-approved NSF for the Future Act, an overview of newly introduced legislation incorporated into the bill through the committee amendment process, and additional new proposals in the House and Senate related to emerging tech and security policy.
H.R. 2225, the NSF for the Future Act
On June 15, the House Science Committee approved the NSF for the Future Act by voice vote. Among other provisions, the initially introduced bill:
- Authorizes more than $72 billion for the National Science Foundation through Fiscal Year 2026, with nearly $11.5 billion authorized for FY2022;
- Establishes an NSF Directorate for Science and Engineering solutions tasked with accelerating Foundation-supported research into applied technologies;
- Directs NSF to review current PreK-12 STEM education activities and provide recommendations for improvement;
- Supports funding for programs to improve PreK-12, post-secondary and graduate school STEM educational activities; and
- Mandates that NSF maintain a Research Security and Policy office to serve as the primary lead for ensuring research security and integrity, and coordinating with non-governmental research institutions.
During its consideration of the bill, the committee adopted amendments, including several recently introduced as standalone legislation,which are highlighted below. Additionally, the committee adopted amendments to:
- Expand the Cybersecurity Scholarship-for-Service program to include individuals studying cybersecurity-related aspects of other fields, such as artificial intelligence;
- Require that grant applicants certify that they are not participants in foreign talent recruitment programs run by countries of concern;
- Authorize $100 million each year through FY2026 for NSF to support post-doctoral entrepreneur fellowships; and
- Authorize $100 million for NSF to award scholarships to low-income students to pursue associate, undergraduate or graduate STEM degrees.
H.R. 3844, Fellowships and Traineeships for Early-Career AI Researchers Act
On June 11, Representative Obernolte (R-CA) introduced the Fellowships and Traineeships for Early-Career AI Researchers Act. The bipartisan bill directs the NSF to award grants to higher education institutions to support students pursuing graduate research opportunities in artificial intelligence. Grant awards are authorized to cover education-related costs, and also to sponsor students working in AI-related research for government or industry. The bill is cosponsored by House Science Committee Chair Johnson, Ranking Member Lucas and senior committee member Rep. McNerney (D-CA). It was included in the Committee-approved version of the NSF for the Future Act.
H.R. 3846, To direct the Director of the National Science Foundation to create a program that plans for, establishes, and supports Technology Research Institutes, and for other purposes
On June 11, Representative Deborah Ross (D-NC) introduced the bipartisan NSF Technology Research Institutes Act. It creates a National Science Foundation grant program dedicated to funding technology research activities, such as experimental and foundational research, technology commercialization and graduate training programs in key technology areas. A version of the bill was incorporated into the NSF for the Future Act approved by the House Science Committee.
H.R. 3858, National Science and Technology Strategy Act
On June 11, Representative Waltz (R-FL), Ranking Member of the House Science Committee’s Research and Technology Subcommittee, introduced the National Science and Technology Strategy Act. The bipartisan bill directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a national science and technology strategy, and conduct an assessment of the United States’ S&T position, every four years. The review is to include strategic objectives to maintain U.S. S&T leadership, a review of global technology trends, and recommendations for programs and policies across federal agencies to support the U.S. S&T strategy. The bill has been referred to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and is cosponsored by Representatives Johnson (D-TX) and Lucas (R-OK), the chair and ranking member of the committee, respectively.
H.R. 3859, Innovations in Informal STEM Learning Act
On June 14, Representative Young Kim (R-CA) introduced the Innovations in Informal STEM Learning Act. The bipartisan bill cosponsored by House Science Committee Chair Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas authorizes grants for non-profit organizations and out-of-school activities to support informal STEM learning opportunities such as extracurricular activities, field experiences and competitions. Originally referred to the House Science Committee, the measure was incorporated as an amendment into the committee-approved NSF for the Future Act.
S. 2078, A bill to prohibit the issuance of F or J visas to researchers affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army
On June 16, Senator Cotton (R-AR) introduced the People’s Liberation Army Visa Security Act. It would direct the President to issue a list of research, engineering and scientific institutions affiliated with the PLA. The bill prohibits the issuance of student or exchange visitor visas to individuals currently or previously employed, funded or sponsored by such PLA-affiliated institutions. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and is cosponsored by the committee’s Ranking Member Grassley (R-IA).
S. 2107, The Facilitating American-Built Semiconductors (FABS) Act
On June 17, Senator Wyden introduced the Facilitating American-Built Semiconductors Act, a bipartisan bill to establish a 25 percent investment tax credit for construction of new semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the United States. Eligible projects for the credit include investments in semiconductor manufacturing facilities, as well as manufacturing equipment. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, of which Senator Wyden serves as chair. It is cosponsored by Ranking Member Crapo (R-ID).
S. 2120, A bill to establish the United States-Israel Artificial Intelligence Center to improve artificial intelligence research and development cooperation
On June 17, Senator Rubio (R-FL) introduced S. 2120, a bill to establish the United States-Israel Artificial Intelligence Center to improve artificial intelligence research and development cooperation. The bipartisan legislation directs the Secretary of State, Secretary of Commerce and Director of NSF to establish a U.S.-Israel artificial intelligence center in the United States to support cooperative research and development of AI technologies. It authorizes $10 million per year through Fiscal Year 2026 for the center, and allows the United States to fund up to 50 percent of the costs of the center, with Israel intended to cover the rest. The bill has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.