WASHINGTON—A request from Director Erich Bloch for $270 million in additional funds for the National Science Foundation in fiscal 1988 should get a sympathetic hearing on Capitol Hill, according to congressional committee staff. But whether that will translate into votes is not yet clear.

Bloch won administration support for the 17 percent increase, from $1.62 billion to nearly $1.9 billion, by arguing that strengthening the university research base is one of the best ways to keep American industry competitive in world markets.

But Sen. William Proxmire (DWis.), who brings a well-honed budget axe to his new post as chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that will pass judgment on the Foundation's budget, made it clear that such talk may not be enough. "Although I support the administration's emphasis on economic competitiveness, a 17 percent increase may well be excessive given the current financial climate."

Bloch packaged his request in one of...

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