A Senate bill that ostensibly focuses on strengthening American competition with China includes a provision between the lines that would designate $5 million for funding of a new “chief diversity officer” position at the National Science Foundation (NSF), according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The bill is the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. The bill aims to address the ongoing economic rivalry and supply chain crisis between the United States and China, by increasing domestic manufacturing and tightening supply lines in the United States.
According to the bill, the duties of the NSF’s new “chief diversity officer” would include “establishing a strategic plan for diverse participation” in the foundation’s various programs, as well as collecting information on the demographics of the NSF’s staff and patent applicants, in order to know which demographics to hire to offset alleged “inequity.” The bill would direct states to close such “equity gaps” by giving subgrants to students in computer science education classes who face “systemic barriers.”
The new official would also focus on boosting representation for “traditionally underrepresented populations,” as well as educational institutions designated specifically for minorities, such as “historically Black colleges and universities, Tribal colleges or universities, [and] minority-serving institutions.”
Multiple Republican Senate aides criticized this and other aspects of the bill, which represents the Democratic Party’s “woke” agenda on race relations in the United States.
“This is a thinly veiled attempt to push a radical woke agenda in what the Democrats say is supposed to be a critical national security bill,” one anonymous Republican official said. Another congressional aide described it as “disappointing that Republican lawmakers are helping” Democrats advance the bill and other similar legislation.
A study by the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology found in a report earlier this month that the NSF is already one of the most highly-politicized agencies in the federal government.
“As of 2020, 30.4 percent of all grants had one of the following politicized terms: ‘equity,’ ‘diversity,’ ‘inclusion,’ ‘gender,’ ‘marginalize,’ ‘underrepresented,’ or ‘disparity,'” according to the report, which “is up from 2.9 percent in 1990.”
“The results imply that there has been a politicization of scientific funding in the U.S. in recent years and a decrease in the diversity of ideas supported,” the report continued, “indicating a possible decline in the quality of research and the potential for decreased trust towards scientific institutions among the general public.”