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New legislation circulating in Congress would pour tens of billions of dollars into American research and development, in a move that one Republican sponsor characterized as critical to a new "Cold War" against China.
The Endless Frontiers Act would radically overhaul the National Science Foundation, giving it $100 billion over five years to fund innovation in high-tech fields including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and cutting-edge engineering. That would undo decades of declining federal R&D spending which has been dropping since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Doing so, bill cosponsor Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview, is not just about increasing domestic investment—it's about ensuring that the next generation of world-shaping technology is made in America, not China.
"In my view, playing defense is not enough to ensure that America remains the world's preeminent leader in science and technology, and that the U.S. and not the CCP invents the critical technology standards of the future," Gallagher said. "So just as we did at the beginning of the Cold War, in this new Cold War we have to substantially increase the federal investment that's critical for our strategic competition and national survival."
The bill—introduced by Gallagher, Sen. Todd Young (R., Ind.), and Democratic counterparts Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.)—has attracted excitement among former NSF officials and university administrators. Schumer's support may help move the idea from proposal to the floor of Congress, although some are likely to blanch at the price tag amid a soaring budget deficit.
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