Republican Lawmakers Push for Billions in Boosts to Science Agency Budgets

Republican Lawmakers Push for Billions in Boosts to Science Agency Budgets

House Republicans proposed doubling U.S. investments in research funding across multiple federal agencies, the creation of a coordinated national science and technology strategy and many other government-centered moves they positioned as ultimately meant to promote innovation and security—via a 265-page piece of legislation. 

The Securing American Leadership in Science and Technology Act, or SALSTA, was introduced Tuesday by House Science, Space and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas, R-Okla., with more than a dozen original co-sponsors.

Similar legislation under the same name was put forth and prioritized by Lucas during his tenure as ranking member in the last Congressional session, and elements of that one did make it into other bills that eventually passed. But this latest version of SALSTA also incorporates new sections targeting research integrity, and the establishment of a National Supply Chain Database.

“Shoring up domestic supply chains, particularly for critical minerals, isn’t a new priority, but the need to do so became more urgent with supply chain disruptions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” a member of legislative staff who helped craft the bill told Nextgov in an email Tuesday.

During that correspondence and in a prior press briefing, that individual and others involved in the bill’s making reflected on some of its inclusions—and what might come next.

“While SALSTA is a comprehensive proposal for investing in American [research and development], there are quite a few sections that can be introduced as individual bills, and we expect to see that soon on critical minerals, advanced recycling, and fusion energy, ..