A bill authorizing an increase in National Science Foundation (NSF) research spending is on its way to the White House for signature, after last-minute maneuvers in Congress calmed Bush Administration concerns about over-spending on science. The measure, HR 4664, authorizes a raise in the NSF budget to $5.5 billion for fiscal year 2003, representing an increase of approximately 15 percent for the agency that funds much of US non-medical life science research.

Since appropriations have stalled in the current lame duck session, however, the amounts specified in the NSF authorization act passed by the Senate November 15 are target figures that Congress may or may not meet when the new term begins next year.

"This is cause for celebration, but we still don't have the money," said Adrienne Froelich, director of public policy for the American Institute of Biological Sciences. On the funding front, the House and Senate are...

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