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article imageBush Signs Law Giving More Than $30 Billion to Science and Tech Fields

By Chris Hogg     Aug 9, 2007 in Politics
The words "George Bush" and "gives money to field of science" may sound like a headline you would see on The Onion, but we kid you not. Bush has authorized more than $30 billion to stimulate research in the fields of science and tech.
Digital Journal — Signing off on the America Competes Act into law today, Bush authorized $33.6 billion to government-supported research, education and teacher-training programs in the field of science and technology.
Critics say the news is long overdue, and it quickly received applause from companies all across the country. The business world has been looking for government funding to be earmarked for some time now, giving the country the ability to maintain a competitive edge in science, technology and engineering fields.
The law also will provide funding for universities and research institutes to create summer programs and provide more training in foreign language education, math and science for teachers.
In signing the law, Bush has also created a new body to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions, improve energy efficiency and reduce imports of foreign energy. The Advanced Research Projects Administration for Energy (ARPA-E) will also be in charge of "identifying and promoting revolutionary advances in fundamental sciences" and "translating scientific discoveries and cutting-edge inventions into technological innovations."
Despite signing the Act, Bush has reportedly said he believes the ARPA-E to be "counterproductive" in its goal of looking at "long-term and high-risk" alternative energy technologies.
"The bill creates over 30 new programs that are mostly duplicative or counterproductive — including a new Department of Energy agency to fund late-stage technology development more appropriately left to the private sector — and also provides excessive authorization for existing programs," reads a White House statement issued after Bush signed the Bill.
Also, even though the Act puts forth billions of dollars, the formal process of allocating funds must still be approved and allotted by their respective congressional channels. As CNET reports, some critics from the Republican camp have already voted against the bill because of the huge cost and Bush himself says he shares those views (although he signed it anyway).
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quick to endorse the signing with the declaration that it was a step forward for the Democrat's "New Direction for America."
But as Wired points out, Bush also jabbed Congress while signing the act into law, saying: These are important steps forward, and so I'm going to sign the bill. I'm looking forward to it. Yet the bill Congress sent to my desk leaves some of the key priorities unfulfilled, and authorizes unnecessary and duplicative programs. I will continue to focus my budget requests on the key priorities in the bill I outlined, and will work with Congress to focus its spending on those programs that will be most effective.
I will continue to press Congress to approve the remaining measures of the American Competitiveness Initiative. These measures include the Adjunct Teacher Corps program to encourage math and science professionals to take time out of their lives and teach in our schools, and to inspire the youth to become more interested in math and science. I believe Congress ought to make the research and development tax credit a permanent part of the tax code, to encourage investment.
More information can be found in the the White House discussion.
More about George bush, Funding, Science
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