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President Obama’s top science adviser (better known as his Science Czar) testified the other day on the administration’s budgetary plans for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, but encountered some skepticism from the Republican chairman of a key House committee, Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas.

Overall, the president’s budget request would provide $3 billion for STEM education across the federal government, an increase of 2.6 percent over the current level, said John Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, during the Feb. 17 House hearing.

“The 2013 budget makes disciplined choices guided by drafts of the federal STEM education strategic plan, cutting back on lower-priority programs to make room for targeted increases and reducing duplication and overlap,” he said.

In fact, Holdren said the president’s plan for fiscal 2013 would reduce the number of programs for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education from 235 to 209.

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