Summary: H.R.2916 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to House with amendment(s) (08/04/1987)

(Reported to House from the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology with amendment, H. Rept. 100-266)

Technology Competitiveness Act of 1987 - Title I: National Institutes of Standards and Technology and Advanced Technology Board - Renames the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Directs the President to afford the Advanced Technology Board (established by this Act) an opportunity to make recommendations before appointing a NIST Director. Requires the Director to make an annual report to the Secretary of Commerce.

Renames the four current laboratories of NBS as the following NIST "Institutes:" the National Engineering Institute, the National Measurement Institute, the Computer Sciences and Technology Institute, and the Materials Science and Engineering Institute.

Updates the functions of the Institutes to include current programs in automatic manufacturing, superconductivity, biotechnology, corrosion studies, and fracture research. Includes all functions as the national standards and measurement laboratory. Adds the functions of assisting industry in: (1) improving product quality; (2) modernizing manufacturing processes; (3) ensuring product reliability, manufacturability, functionality, and cost-effectiveness; and (4) facilitating more rapid commercialization, especially by small- and medium-sized companies.

Establishes an Advanced Technology Foundation in NIST, reporting to the NIST Director. Directs the Foundation to: (1) sponsor programs of applied research with U.S. industry, universities, and independent research organizations to lay the groundwork for the development and use by U.S. industry of advanced and innovative manufacturing and process technologies; (2) provide organizational and technical advice, and partial start-up funding where necessary, to consortia, which may include U.S. industry, universities, and independent research organizations, aimed at solving generic problems of specific industries and making those industries more competitive in world markets; (3) provide technical assistance for and share in the costs of collaborative technology demonstration projects managed by consortia of U.S. industry; (4) carry out all functions and responsibilities related to the Cooperative Research Centers; and (5) involve the Federal laboratories in the programs of the Foundation, using certain cooperative research and development agreements.

Requires the NIST Director to: (1) assure that the advice of the Advanced Technology Board is considered routinely in carrying out NIST responsibilities; (2) assure that NIST programs are focused on improving the competitive position of the United States and its industries; and (3) avoid providing undue advantage to specific companies.

Requires that projects selected for funding by the Foundation aim to create a competitive advantage for U.S. industry.

Directs the Foundation to: (1) monitor how technologies developed in its research program are used; and (2) report annually to the Congress on the extent of any overseas transfer of these technologies.

Requires the Director to submit to specified congressional committees an initial organization plan for NIST at least 60 days before its effective date and within 120 days after the enactment of this Act. Requires that any revision of such plan be submitted to the appropriate congressional committees before its effective date.

Establishes an Advanced Technology Board within NIST to review and make recommendations regarding general policy for NIST. Authorizes the Board to establish special commissions when necessary. Directs the Board to render an annual report to the President, for submission to the Congress.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce, as part of the FY 1989 budget submission for NIST, to submit to specified congressional committees a plan for NIST evaluation of the technological and economic feasibility of inventions which are not energy-related. Authorizes the Foundation to provide funding for the development of potential technologies.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1988 for the purposes of this title other than for NIST functions and activities.

Title II: Extension Services - Federal Industrial Extension Act of 1987 - Directs the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a nationwide study of current State industrial extension programs and to report the results of such study, with recommendations, to specified congressional committees by February 1, 1988. Prohibits implementation of any plan to assist such State programs without providing at least 60 days notice to the specified congressional committees.

Authorizes appropriations: (1) for FY 1988 to conduct such study; and (2) for FY 1989 through 1991 to create programs pursuant to the Secretary's recommendations.

Title III: Reports on Superconductors - Directs the President to appoint a National Commission on Superconductivity to review all major policy issues regarding U.S. applications of recent research advances in superconductors in order to assist the Congress in devising a national strategy to assure U.S. leadership in the development and application of superconducting technologies.

Requires the Commission, within six months after the enactment of this Act, to report, with recommendations, to the President and the Congress. Disbands the Commission upon submission of its report and recommendations. Authorizes the National Critical Materials Council to review and update such report and recommendations as it deems appropriate.

Title IV: Clearinghouse for State and Local Initiatives on Productivity, Technology, and Innovation - Competitiveness Enhancement Act of 1987 - Amends the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 to establish a Clearinghouse for State and Local Initiatives on Productivity, Technology, and Innovation in the Office of Productivity, Technology, and Innovation in the Department of Commerce. Requires the Clearinghouse to serve as a central repository of information: (1) on initiatives by State and local governments to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. business and industry; and (2) on Federal efforts to assist State and local governments to enhance competitiveness. Outlines Clearinghouse responsibilities. Directs the Secretary of Commerce to report annually to the Congress on such State and local initiatives, with recommendations on the Federal role in stimulating such efforts. Authorizes appropriations to carry out this title for FY 1988 and succeeding fiscal years.

Title V: Semiconductor Research and Development - National Advisory Committee on Semiconductor Research and Development Act of 1987 - Creates the National Advisory Committee on Semiconductors as an independent advisory body in the executive branch. Requires the Committee to report annually to the President and the Congress on its activities and planned activities, including findings and recommendations with respect to the national semiconductor strategy, the implementation of which will assure continued U.S. leadership in semiconductor technology. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1988 through 1990.

Title VI: Metric Usage - Metric Usage Act of 1987 - Amends the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 to add findings. Declares it the policy of the United States to: (1) designate the metric system of measurement as the preferred system of weights and measures for U.S. trade and commerce; (2) require that each Federal agency, by a date certain and to the extent feasible by the end of FY 1992, use the metric system of measurement in its procurements, grants, and other business-related activities, except to the extent that such use is impractical or likely to cause significant inefficiencies or loss of markets to U.S. firms; (3) increase understanding of the metric system through educational information and Government publications; and (4) permit the continued use of traditional systems of weights and measures in nonbusiness activities. Requires each Federal agency to: (1) establish guidelines to carry out such policy; and (2) report annually to the Congress on its previous and planned actions to implement the metric system fully. Directs the Comptroller General, at the end of FY 1992, to review implementation of this title and report findings and recommendations to the Congress.

Title VII: Miscellaneous and Conforming Provisions - Amends the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980 to authorize (rather than require) a Federal agency receiving royalties or other income as a result of invention management services performed for another Federal agency or laboratory to retain such royalties or income to the extent required to offset not only the payment of royalties to inventors and certain costs and expenses, but also the cost of foreign patenting and maintenance for any invention of the other agency.

Revises the funding formula for the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

Requires the Office of Productivity, Technology, and Innovation to analyze the concept of competitiveness impact reviews to identify impediments, including legal, regulatory, and legislative impediments and barriers, to the commercialization of U.S. science and technology advances. Directs the Secretary of Commerce to: (1) issue additional reports on specified activities whenever deemed appropriate; and (2) submit the initial report regarding the analysis of competitiveness impact reviews no later than September 30, 1988.