On 22 July 2010, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved a bill that would reauthorize research and education programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other federal science agencies. The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (S. 3605), sponsored by Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), would authorize increased funding for NSF for three years. S. 3605 would also reinforce the roles of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

Notably for the natural science collections community, the Senate bill includes language regarding the management, use, and access to federal scientific collections. Like the House-passed legislation, S. 3605 would require the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a policy to improve access to, and preservation of, federally held scientific collections. Significantly, the Senate bill would require that the plan be developed in consultation with non-federal collections.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee are also expected to contribute to the legislation. The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill, HR 5116, in June.


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