I am a fiscal conservative, but the dollars we invest in basic research will come back to us in spades in terms of stimulating economic activity and helping the United States remain at the forefront of global innovation. The America COMPETES Act would double funding for the National Science Foundation -- the NSF -- by 2011 and increase support for the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Our continued investment in basic research is made more essential by the actions of other nations like China and India. Such countries are not sitting idly by waiting to see what we will do here to remain competitive. Rather they are undertaking ambitious efforts to expand their own research and development base at our expense.

Editor's note: Sen. Ensign was an original cosponsor of S.761, the America COMPETES Act.