Draft legislation spearheaded by House science committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, would allow National Science Foundation grants only for research that advances "the national health, prosperity or welfare"; promotes the "progress of science" to secure the nation's defense; solves problems or answers questions "of utmost importance to society at large"; and does not duplicate funding from any other federal entity. The bill would require the White House's science adviser to study implementing the criteria across other federal science agencies. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, the top Democrat on the committee, said the proposal compromises the merit review process and the NSF's basic research mission. President Barack Obama said in a speech at the National Academy of Sciences' annual meeting that science must remain independent and the "rigorous peer review system" currently in place must be protected.
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