4:57 PM EDT

Paul C. Broun, R-GA 10th

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Madam Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Page 69, line 22, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced by $760,000)''.

Page 70, line 5, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced by $29,500,000)''.

Page 70, line 17, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced by $37,000,000)''.

Page 71, line 11, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced by $70,000)''.

Page 100, line 17, after the dollar amount, insert ``(increased by $67,330,000)''.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Broun) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.

4:57 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Page 34, line 8, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced by $500,000)''.

Page 38, line 2, after the dollar amount, insert ``(increased by $500,000)''.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from Texas is recognized for 5 minutes.

4:57 PM EDT

Lamar S. Smith, R-TX 21st

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Chair, first I want to thank the majority leader, Mr. Cantor, for his earlier comments about our National Science Foundation amendment. I appreciate his efforts to hold the NSF accountable for its grant funding decisions.

The Smith-Cantor amendment reduces the fiscal year 2015 funding in the bill, the National Science Foundation's Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences directorate, or SBE directorate, by more than $15 million. This reduction will freeze SBE at its current funding level rather than increase it to the level requested by the President.

The Smith-Cantor amendment maintains the overall level of National Science Foundation research funding in the bill. It redirects the amount of the SBE cut to the physical sciences and engineering, the areas that were prioritized in the NSF authorization act reported out of the Science Committee yesterday. [Page: H4958]

Much of the research funded through the SBE directorate has obvious scientific merit and is in the national interest. But the SBE directorate has also funded dozens, perhaps hundreds, of questionable grants. For example, when the National Science Foundation pays a researcher more than $227,000 to thumb through the pages of old National Geographic magazines to look at animal pictures, taxpayers feel as though the NSF is thumbing its nose at them.

The NSF also spent $340,000 for a study of human-set forest fires 2,000 years ago in New Zealand. Americans who have lost their homes and businesses to wildfires could ask how this helps them.

Taxpayers can't help but wonder why NSF spent $1.5 million of their money to study rangeland management in Mongolia rather than, say, in Texas.

[Time: 17:00]

We shouldn't reward frivolous use of taxpayer money with even more money. This is what the President has proposed.

The Smith-Cantor amendment zeros out the SBE increase for fiscal year 2015. This should encourage the NSF to apply higher standards when awarding its grants.

Yesterday, the House Science Committee marked up the FIRST Act, legislation that reauthorizes NSF programs.

My colleagues and I approved an amendment to the bill that cuts the SBE directorate to $150 million, $100 million less than the current fiscal year. That is where we think the discussion ought to start next year. So this amendment is only the first step.

I also want to point out the SBE directorate isn't the only source of questionable NSF grants. For instance, NSF that handed out $700,000 for ``The Great Immensity,'' a climate change musical, and $5.6 million for a climate change scavenger hunt and phone game.

Such grants make taxpayers even more skeptical about how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent and diminishes public support for scientific research.

Investments in science are essential if our country is to continue to lead the world in nanotechnology, supercomputing, and other fields that yield new jobs, new businesses, and, in fact, entire new industries.

The way to restore public support is not to continue funding questionable grants with taxpayer money.

The Smith-Cantor amendment is a small but important step in the right direction. It sets the precedent for the Science Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the House to take additional steps in the future to assure that NSF-funded research is, in fact, in the national interest.

Madam Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.

4:57 PM EDT

Lamar S. Smith, R-TX 21st

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Chair, first I want to thank the majority leader, Mr. Cantor, for his earlier comments about our National Science Foundation amendment. I appreciate his efforts to hold the NSF accountable for its grant funding decisions.

The Smith-Cantor amendment reduces the fiscal year 2015 funding in the bill, the National Science Foundation's Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences directorate, or SBE directorate, by more than $15 million. This reduction will freeze SBE at its current funding level rather than increase it to the level requested by the President.

The Smith-Cantor amendment maintains the overall level of National Science Foundation research funding in the bill. It redirects the amount of the SBE cut to the physical sciences and engineering, the areas that were prioritized in the NSF authorization act reported out of the Science Committee yesterday. [Page: H4958]

Much of the research funded through the SBE directorate has obvious scientific merit and is in the national interest. But the SBE directorate has also funded dozens, perhaps hundreds, of questionable grants. For example, when the National Science Foundation pays a researcher more than $227,000 to thumb through the pages of old National Geographic magazines to look at animal pictures, taxpayers feel as though the NSF is thumbing its nose at them.

The NSF also spent $340,000 for a study of human-set forest fires 2,000 years ago in New Zealand. Americans who have lost their homes and businesses to wildfires could ask how this helps them.

Taxpayers can't help but wonder why NSF spent $1.5 million of their money to study rangeland management in Mongolia rather than, say, in Texas.

[Time: 17:00]

We shouldn't reward frivolous use of taxpayer money with even more money. This is what the President has proposed.

The Smith-Cantor amendment zeros out the SBE increase for fiscal year 2015. This should encourage the NSF to apply higher standards when awarding its grants.

Yesterday, the House Science Committee marked up the FIRST Act, legislation that reauthorizes NSF programs.

My colleagues and I approved an amendment to the bill that cuts the SBE directorate to $150 million, $100 million less than the current fiscal year. That is where we think the discussion ought to start next year. So this amendment is only the first step.

I also want to point out the SBE directorate isn't the only source of questionable NSF grants. For instance, NSF that handed out $700,000 for ``The Great Immensity,'' a climate change musical, and $5.6 million for a climate change scavenger hunt and phone game.

Such grants make taxpayers even more skeptical about how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent and diminishes public support for scientific research.

Investments in science are essential if our country is to continue to lead the world in nanotechnology, supercomputing, and other fields that yield new jobs, new businesses, and, in fact, entire new industries.

The way to restore public support is not to continue funding questionable grants with taxpayer money.

The Smith-Cantor amendment is a small but important step in the right direction. It sets the precedent for the Science Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the House to take additional steps in the future to assure that NSF-funded research is, in fact, in the national interest.

Madam Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.

5:01 PM EDT

Chaka Fattah, D-PA 2nd

Mr. FATTAH. Madam Chair, I want to acknowledge the great work of the gentleman from Texas on patent reform. We worked together and he led the effort that has reformed our patent system, I think, in a remarkable way.

The majority leader and I spent some time on one of the last vote days here to go over to NIH and hear from Dr. Collins about great research, particularly interested in pediatric cancers and the like.

So these are two gentlemen, the authors of this amendment, who have been very positive and focused in a number of areas that I share with them. However, this amendment is misguided, and I want to speak in opposition to it.

The notion that we would want to eliminate certain investigations by the National Science Foundation into economic science or behavioral science, when we talk about disasters, the reason why we have saved so many lives, it is not just that we have improved weather forecasting, even though that would be eliminated in terms of the moneys here for investigative purposes by the National Science Foundation, but also understanding the behaviors of people facing disasters is very important. That would

be cut.

This area of posttraumatic stress is a critical area. We know now that many of our returning soldiers face posttraumatic stress, but we also know that children living in very difficult circumstances in our country are more traumatized than if they were living in a war zone, an active war zone in another country. So eliminating, cutting back scientific investigations in this regard would be, I think, disastrous.

That is why I am hoping that whatever is causing this, there will be some reversal of it eventually. But in the meantime, I want to suggest to the House that we should oppose this amendment, we should oppose the notion that somehow we don't want to know certain things.

I was at the University of Pittsburgh. I saw some results of National Science Foundation funding that started out 30 years ago that a Member on this floor would be on the floor complaining about now. It was the examination of what happens in the neurons of a monkey when they move their arm, what neurons fire off in their brain.

Well, that research today, 30 years later, literally has a woman who, because of a disease, has no control of her body, but can now move an artificial arm through her thoughts. This is the result of research by the National Science Foundation. It is the world premier basic science foundation, it is the model for our economic competitors. They are imitating it.

A small country like Singapore with less than 5 million people is investing $7 billion in their national science foundation. Here we are, the wealthiest country in the world, and we are putting $7.4 billion, which is the highest ever, and I thank the chairman.

But now we want to put handcuffs on the agency about what it is that they can look at in terms of improving the life chances of Americans. The research has paid off. That is why we are the great country that we are today. The World Economic Forum says our Nation and our Nation's economy is driven by innovation.

The last thing that we should be doing on the floor of this House is equivocating or compromising or making it more challenging for those who are engaged in the innovation ecosystem to do their work.

Even though I compliment the gentleman, Mr. Smith, and the majority [Page: H4959]

leader, Mr. Cantor, for all their efforts, I can't imagine for the life of me why we would be on this floor tonight debating a retreat on behavioral science, on economic science. It makes no sense. I would hope that the House, notwithstanding the fact that the majority is held by the other team, I hope in this instance, as the chairman said, we would realize that this

is not a competition between Democrats and Republicans. We are competing against countries that have big and plus populations like China and India, they want to eat our lunch economically, and what we need to do is stop the bickering back and forth and figure out what is best for our country.

The chairman and I voted for Simpson-Bowles. We were one of just less than 40 Members who did so. I might be in the minority on this vote, but I am going to vote on what is in the best interest of our Nation, and that is to continue to invest in innovation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes appeared to have it.

5:01 PM EDT

Frank R. Wolf, R-VA 10th

Mr. WOLF. Madam Chair, I have no objection to the amendment.

I share the opinion that NSF must exercise caution. I should tell Members, the NSF funding here is at an all-time high. This is a Republican committee, if you will. The House and we support the sciences. I want our country to stay ahead of China and the other countries. I want America to be number one.

But I appreciate what Mr. Smith, the chairman, said: NSF must exercise caution and grant awards and ensure--and I hope NSF is listening today--that every grant is both scientifically, meritorious, and responsive to the national interest. The subcommittee has already taken steps to help improve accountability and transparency in its NSF operations by including language in the FY15 CGS report and is working with NSF to understand improvements that the agency is making in its review and

communication process.

In addition, last week, I sent a letter to the NSF director, Ms. Cordova. She is a very impressive person, very knowledgeable, she is brand new, I think she is committed to making sure that they only fund scientific things. But this letter emphasizes the need for the agency to be judicious in a grant it awards and to ensure that taxpayer funds are used wisely.

The subcommittee will continue to provide oversight on this topic as needed.

I thank the gentleman. I think it is important for NSF to know that since the funding is at a record high in order that America can be and will always be number one in math and science and physics and chemistry and biology and lead the world, with that excess funding, extra funding, goes the responsibility to make sure there are not grants that then weaken the program and give there an opportunity for people to say this program is out of kilter. I appreciate Mr. Smith raising these.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

5:01 PM EDT

Frank R. Wolf, R-VA 10th

Mr. WOLF. Madam Chair, I have no objection to the amendment.

I share the opinion that NSF must exercise caution. I should tell Members, the NSF funding here is at an all-time high. This is a Republican committee, if you will. The House and we support the sciences. I want our country to stay ahead of China and the other countries. I want America to be number one.

But I appreciate what Mr. Smith, the chairman, said: NSF must exercise caution and grant awards and ensure--and I hope NSF is listening today--that every grant is both scientifically, meritorious, and responsive to the national interest. The subcommittee has already taken steps to help improve accountability and transparency in its NSF operations by including language in the FY15 CGS report and is working with NSF to understand improvements that the agency is making in its review and

communication process.

In addition, last week, I sent a letter to the NSF director, Ms. Cordova. She is a very impressive person, very knowledgeable, she is brand new, I think she is committed to making sure that they only fund scientific things. But this letter emphasizes the need for the agency to be judicious in a grant it awards and to ensure that taxpayer funds are used wisely.

The subcommittee will continue to provide oversight on this topic as needed.

I thank the gentleman. I think it is important for NSF to know that since the funding is at a record high in order that America can be and will always be number one in math and science and physics and chemistry and biology and lead the world, with that excess funding, extra funding, goes the responsibility to make sure there are not grants that then weaken the program and give there an opportunity for people to say this program is out of kilter. I appreciate Mr. Smith raising these.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

5:04 PM EDT

Chaka Fattah, D-PA 2nd

Mr. FATTAH. Madam Chair, I want to acknowledge the great work of the gentleman from Texas on patent reform. We worked together and he led the effort that has reformed our patent system, I think, in a remarkable way.

The majority leader and I spent some time on one of the last vote days here to go over to NIH and hear from Dr. Collins about great research, particularly interested in pediatric cancers and the like.

So these are two gentlemen, the authors of this amendment, who have been very positive and focused in a number of areas that I share with them. However, this amendment is misguided, and I want to speak in opposition to it.

The notion that we would want to eliminate certain investigations by the National Science Foundation into economic science or behavioral science, when we talk about disasters, the reason why we have saved so many lives, it is not just that we have improved weather forecasting, even though that would be eliminated in terms of the moneys here for investigative purposes by the National Science Foundation, but also understanding the behaviors of people facing disasters is very important. That would

be cut.

This area of posttraumatic stress is a critical area. We know now that many of our returning soldiers face posttraumatic stress, but we also know that children living in very difficult circumstances in our country are more traumatized than if they were living in a war zone, an active war zone in another country. So eliminating, cutting back scientific investigations in this regard would be, I think, disastrous.

That is why I am hoping that whatever is causing this, there will be some reversal of it eventually. But in the meantime, I want to suggest to the House that we should oppose this amendment, we should oppose the notion that somehow we don't want to know certain things.

I was at the University of Pittsburgh. I saw some results of National Science Foundation funding that started out 30 years ago that a Member on this floor would be on the floor complaining about now. It was the examination of what happens in the neurons of a monkey when they move their arm, what neurons fire off in their brain.

Well, that research today, 30 years later, literally has a woman who, because of a disease, has no control of her body, but can now move an artificial arm through her thoughts. This is the result of research by the National Science Foundation. It is the world premier basic science foundation, it is the model for our economic competitors. They are imitating it.

A small country like Singapore with less than 5 million people is investing $7 billion in their national science foundation. Here we are, the wealthiest country in the world, and we are putting $7.4 billion, which is the highest ever, and I thank the chairman.

But now we want to put handcuffs on the agency about what it is that they can look at in terms of improving the life chances of Americans. The research has paid off. That is why we are the great country that we are today. The World Economic Forum says our Nation and our Nation's economy is driven by innovation.

The last thing that we should be doing on the floor of this House is equivocating or compromising or making it more challenging for those who are engaged in the innovation ecosystem to do their work.

Even though I compliment the gentleman, Mr. Smith, and the majority [Page: H4959]

leader, Mr. Cantor, for all their efforts, I can't imagine for the life of me why we would be on this floor tonight debating a retreat on behavioral science, on economic science. It makes no sense. I would hope that the House, notwithstanding the fact that the majority is held by the other team, I hope in this instance, as the chairman said, we would realize that this

is not a competition between Democrats and Republicans. We are competing against countries that have big and plus populations like China and India, they want to eat our lunch economically, and what we need to do is stop the bickering back and forth and figure out what is best for our country.

The chairman and I voted for Simpson-Bowles. We were one of just less than 40 Members who did so. I might be in the minority on this vote, but I am going to vote on what is in the best interest of our Nation, and that is to continue to invest in innovation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes appeared to have it.

5:04 PM EDT

Chaka Fattah, D-PA 2nd

Mr. FATTAH. Madam Chair, I want to acknowledge the great work of the gentleman from Texas on patent reform. We worked together and he led the effort that has reformed our patent system, I think, in a remarkable way.

The majority leader and I spent some time on one of the last vote days here to go over to NIH and hear from Dr. Collins about great research, particularly interested in pediatric cancers and the like.

So these are two gentlemen, the authors of this amendment, who have been very positive and focused in a number of areas that I share with them. However, this amendment is misguided, and I want to speak in opposition to it.

The notion that we would want to eliminate certain investigations by the National Science Foundation into economic science or behavioral science, when we talk about disasters, the reason why we have saved so many lives, it is not just that we have improved weather forecasting, even though that would be eliminated in terms of the moneys here for investigative purposes by the National Science Foundation, but also understanding the behaviors of people facing disasters is very important. That would

be cut.

This area of posttraumatic stress is a critical area. We know now that many of our returning soldiers face posttraumatic stress, but we also know that children living in very difficult circumstances in our country are more traumatized than if they were living in a war zone, an active war zone in another country. So eliminating, cutting back scientific investigations in this regard would be, I think, disastrous.

That is why I am hoping that whatever is causing this, there will be some reversal of it eventually. But in the meantime, I want to suggest to the House that we should oppose this amendment, we should oppose the notion that somehow we don't want to know certain things.

I was at the University of Pittsburgh. I saw some results of National Science Foundation funding that started out 30 years ago that a Member on this floor would be on the floor complaining about now. It was the examination of what happens in the neurons of a monkey when they move their arm, what neurons fire off in their brain.

Well, that research today, 30 years later, literally has a woman who, because of a disease, has no control of her body, but can now move an artificial arm through her thoughts. This is the result of research by the National Science Foundation. It is the world premier basic science foundation, it is the model for our economic competitors. They are imitating it.

A small country like Singapore with less than 5 million people is investing $7 billion in their national science foundation. Here we are, the wealthiest country in the world, and we are putting $7.4 billion, which is the highest ever, and I thank the chairman.

But now we want to put handcuffs on the agency about what it is that they can look at in terms of improving the life chances of Americans. The research has paid off. That is why we are the great country that we are today. The World Economic Forum says our Nation and our Nation's economy is driven by innovation.

The last thing that we should be doing on the floor of this House is equivocating or compromising or making it more challenging for those who are engaged in the innovation ecosystem to do their work.

Even though I compliment the gentleman, Mr. Smith, and the majority [Page: H4959]

leader, Mr. Cantor, for all their efforts, I can't imagine for the life of me why we would be on this floor tonight debating a retreat on behavioral science, on economic science. It makes no sense. I would hope that the House, notwithstanding the fact that the majority is held by the other team, I hope in this instance, as the chairman said, we would realize that this

is not a competition between Democrats and Republicans. We are competing against countries that have big and plus populations like China and India, they want to eat our lunch economically, and what we need to do is stop the bickering back and forth and figure out what is best for our country.

The chairman and I voted for Simpson-Bowles. We were one of just less than 40 Members who did so. I might be in the minority on this vote, but I am going to vote on what is in the best interest of our Nation, and that is to continue to invest in innovation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes appeared to have it.

5:04 PM EDT

Chaka Fattah, D-PA 2nd

Mr. FATTAH. Madam Chair, I want to acknowledge the great work of the gentleman from Texas on patent reform. We worked together and he led the effort that has reformed our patent system, I think, in a remarkable way.

The majority leader and I spent some time on one of the last vote days here to go over to NIH and hear from Dr. Collins about great research, particularly interested in pediatric cancers and the like.

So these are two gentlemen, the authors of this amendment, who have been very positive and focused in a number of areas that I share with them. However, this amendment is misguided, and I want to speak in opposition to it.

The notion that we would want to eliminate certain investigations by the National Science Foundation into economic science or behavioral science, when we talk about disasters, the reason why we have saved so many lives, it is not just that we have improved weather forecasting, even though that would be eliminated in terms of the moneys here for investigative purposes by the National Science Foundation, but also understanding the behaviors of people facing disasters is very important. That would

be cut.

This area of posttraumatic stress is a critical area. We know now that many of our returning soldiers face posttraumatic stress, but we also know that children living in very difficult circumstances in our country are more traumatized than if they were living in a war zone, an active war zone in another country. So eliminating, cutting back scientific investigations in this regard would be, I think, disastrous.

That is why I am hoping that whatever is causing this, there will be some reversal of it eventually. But in the meantime, I want to suggest to the House that we should oppose this amendment, we should oppose the notion that somehow we don't want to know certain things.

I was at the University of Pittsburgh. I saw some results of National Science Foundation funding that started out 30 years ago that a Member on this floor would be on the floor complaining about now. It was the examination of what happens in the neurons of a monkey when they move their arm, what neurons fire off in their brain.

Well, that research today, 30 years later, literally has a woman who, because of a disease, has no control of her body, but can now move an artificial arm through her thoughts. This is the result of research by the National Science Foundation. It is the world premier basic science foundation, it is the model for our economic competitors. They are imitating it.

A small country like Singapore with less than 5 million people is investing $7 billion in their national science foundation. Here we are, the wealthiest country in the world, and we are putting $7.4 billion, which is the highest ever, and I thank the chairman.

But now we want to put handcuffs on the agency about what it is that they can look at in terms of improving the life chances of Americans. The research has paid off. That is why we are the great country that we are today. The World Economic Forum says our Nation and our Nation's economy is driven by innovation.

The last thing that we should be doing on the floor of this House is equivocating or compromising or making it more challenging for those who are engaged in the innovation ecosystem to do their work.

Even though I compliment the gentleman, Mr. Smith, and the majority [Page: H4959]

leader, Mr. Cantor, for all their efforts, I can't imagine for the life of me why we would be on this floor tonight debating a retreat on behavioral science, on economic science. It makes no sense. I would hope that the House, notwithstanding the fact that the majority is held by the other team, I hope in this instance, as the chairman said, we would realize that this

is not a competition between Democrats and Republicans. We are competing against countries that have big and plus populations like China and India, they want to eat our lunch economically, and what we need to do is stop the bickering back and forth and figure out what is best for our country.

The chairman and I voted for Simpson-Bowles. We were one of just less than 40 Members who did so. I might be in the minority on this vote, but I am going to vote on what is in the best interest of our Nation, and that is to continue to invest in innovation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes appeared to have it.