Text: S.296 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in House (07/27/1999)

[Congressional Bills 106th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 296 Referred in House (RFH)]

  1st Session
                                 S. 296



                             July 27, 1999

                  Referred to the Committee on Science


                                 AN ACT

  To provide for continuation of the Federal research investment in a 
           fiscally sustainable way, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Federal Research Investment Act''.


    (a) Value of Research and Development.--The Congress makes the 
following findings with respect to the value of research and 
development to the United States:
            (1) Federal investment in research has resulted in the 
        development of technology that saved lives in the United States 
        and around the world.
            (2) Research and development investment across all Federal 
        agencies has been effective in creating technology that has 
        enhanced the American quality of life.
            (3) The Federal investment in research and development 
        conducted or underwritten by both military and civilian 
        agencies has produced benefits that have been felt in both the 
        private and public sector.
            (4) Discoveries across the spectrum of scientific inquiry 
        have the potential to raise the standard of living and the 
        quality of life for all Americans.
            (5) Science, engineering, and technology play a critical 
        role in shaping the modern world.
            (6) Studies show that about half of all United States post-
        World War II economic growth is a direct result of technical 
        innovation; and science, engineering, and technology contribute 
        to the creation of new goods and services, new jobs and new 
            (7) Technical innovation is the principal driving force 
        behind the long-term economic growth and increased standards of 
        living of the world's modern industrial societies. Other 
        nations are well aware of the pivotal role of science, 
        engineering, and technology, and they are seeking to exploit it 
        wherever possible to advance their own global competitiveness.
            (8) Federal programs for investment in research, which lead 
        to technological innovation and result in economic growth, 
        should be structured to address current funding disparities and 
        develop enhanced capability in States and regions that 
        currently underparticipate in the national science and 
        technology enterprise.
    (b) Status of the Federal Investment.--The Congress makes the 
following findings with respect to the status of the Federal Investment 
in research and development activities:
            (1) Federal investment of approximately 13 to 14 percent of 
        the Federal discretionary budget in research and development 
        over the past 11 years has resulted in a doubling of the 
        nominal amount of Federal funding.
            (2) Fiscal realities now challenge Congress to steer the 
        Federal government's role in science, engineering, and 
        technology in a manner that ensures a prudent use of limited 
        public resources. There is both a long-term problem--addressing 
        the ever-increasing level of mandatory spending--and a near-
        term challenge--apportioning a dwindling amount of 
        discretionary funding to an increasing range of targets in 
        science, engineering, and technology. This confluence of 
        increased national dependency on technology, increased targets 
        of opportunity, and decreased fiscal flexibility has created a 
        problem of national urgency. Many indicators show that more 
        funding for science, engineering, and technology is needed but, 
        even with increased funding, priorities must be established 
        among different programs. The United States cannot afford the 
        luxury of fully funding all deserving programs.
            (3) Current projections of Federal research funding show a 
        downward trend.


    The Congress makes the following findings with respect to health-
related research:
            (1) Health and economic benefits provided by health-related 
        research.--Because of health-related research, cures for many 
        debilitating and fatal diseases have been discovered and 
        deployed. At present, the medical research community is on the 
        cusp of creating cures for a number of leading diseases and 
        their associated burdens. In particular, medical research has 
        the potential to develop treatments that can help manage the 
        escalating costs associated with the aging of the United States 
            (2) Funding of health-related research.--Many studies have 
        recognized that clinical and basic science are in a state of 
        crisis because of a failure of resources to meet the 
        opportunity. Consequently, health-related research has emerged 
        as a national priority and has been given significantly 
        increased funding by Congress in fiscal year 1999. In order to 
        continue addressing this urgent national need, the pattern of 
        substantial budgetary expansion begun in fiscal year 1999 
        should be maintained.
            (3) Interdisciplinary nature of health-related research.--
        Because all fields of science and engineering are 
        interdependent, full realization of the nation's historic 
        investment in health will depend on major advances both in the 
        biomedical sciences and in other science and engineering 
        disciplines. Hence, the vitality of all disciplines must be 
        preserved, even as special considerations are given to the 
        health research field.


    The Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Flow of science, engineering, and technology.--The 
        process of science, engineering, and technology involves many 
        steps. The present Federal science, engineering, and technology 
        structure reinforces the increasingly artificial distinctions 
        between basic and applied activities. The result too often is a 
        set of discrete programs that each support a narrow phase of 
        research or development and are not coordinated with one 
        another. The government should maximize its investment by 
        encouraging the progression of science, engineering, and 
        technology from the earliest stages of research up to a pre-
        commercialization stage, through funding agencies and vehicles 
        appropriate for each stage. This creates a flow of technology, 
        subject to merit review at each stage, so that promising 
        technology is not lost in a bureaucratic maze.
            (2) Excellence in the american research infrastructure.--
        Federal investment in science, engineering, and technology 
        programs must foster a close relationship between research and 
        education. Investment in research at the university level 
        creates more than simply world-class research. It creates 
        world-class researchers as well. The Federal strategy must 
        continue to reflect this commitment to a strong geographically-
        diverse research infrastructure. Furthermore, the United States 
        must find ways to extend the excellence of its university 
        system to primary and secondary educational institutions and to 
        better utilize the community college system to prepare many 
        students for vocational opportunities in an increasingly 
        technical workplace.
            (3) Commitment to a broad range of research initiatives.--
        An increasingly common theme in many recent technical 
        breakthroughs has been the importance of revolutionary 
        innovations that were sparked by overlapping of research 
        disciplines. The United States must continue to encourage this 
        trend by providing and encouraging opportunities for 
        interdisciplinary projects that foster collaboration among 
        fields of research.
            (4) Partnerships among industry, universities, and federal 
        laboratories.--Each of these contributors to the national 
        science and technology delivery system has special talents and 
        abilities that complement the others. In addition, each has a 
        central mission that must provide their focus and each has 
        limited resources. The nation's investment in science, 
        engineering, and technology can be optimized by seeking 
        opportunities for leveraging the resources and talents of these 
        three major players through partnerships that do not distort 
        the missions of each partner. For that reason, Federal dollars 
        are wisely spent forming such partnerships.


    (a) Maintaining United States Leadership in Science, Engineering, 
and Technology.--It is imperative for the United States to nurture its 
superb resources in science, engineering, and technology carefully in 
order to maintain its own globally competitive position.
    (b) Guiding Principles.--Federal research and development programs 
should be conducted in accordance with the following guiding 
            (1) Good science.--Federal science, engineering, and 
        technology programs include both knowledge-driven science 
        together with its applications, and mission-driven, science-
        based requirements. In general, both types of programs must be 
        focused, peer- and merit-reviewed, and not unnecessarily 
        duplicative, although the details of these attributes must vary 
        with different program objectives.
            (2) Fiscal accountability.--The Congress must exercise 
        oversight to ensure that programs funded with scarce Federal 
        dollars are well managed. The United States cannot tolerate 
        waste of money through inefficient management techniques, 
        whether by government agencies, by contractors, or by Congress 
        itself. Fiscal resources would be better utilized if program 
        and project funding levels were predictable across several 
        years to enable better project planning; a benefit of such 
        predictability would be that agencies and Congress can better 
        exercise oversight responsibilities through comparisons of a 
        project's and program's progress against carefully planned 
            (3) Program effectiveness.--The United States needs to make 
        sure that government programs achieve their goals. As the 
        Congress crafts science, engineering, and technology 
        legislation, it must include a process for gauging program 
        effectiveness, selecting criteria based on sound scientific 
        judgment and avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy. The Congress 
        should also avoid the trap of measuring the effectiveness of a 
        broad science, engineering, and technology program by passing 
        judgment on individual projects. Lastly, the Congress must 
        recognize that a negative result in a well-conceived and 
        executed project or program may still be critically important 
        to the funding agency.
            (4) Criteria for government funding.--Program selection for 
        Federal funding should continue to reflect the nation's 2 
        traditional research and development priorities: (A) basic, 
        scientific, and technological research that represents 
        investments in the nation's long-term future scientific and 
        technological capacity, for which government has traditionally 
        served as the principle resource; and (B) mission research 
        investments, that is, investments in research that derive from 
        necessary public functions, such as defense, health, education, 
        environmental protection, and raising the standard of living, 
        which may include pre-commercial, pre-competitive engineering 
        research and technology development. Additionally, government 
        funding should not compete with or displace the short-term, 
        market-driven, and typically more specific nature of private-
        sector funding. Government funding should be restricted to pre-
        competitive activities, leaving competitive activities solely 
        for the private sector. As a rule, the government should not 
        invest in commercial technology that is in the product 
        development stage, very close to the broad commercial 
        marketplace, except to meet a specific agency goal. When the 
        government provides funding for any science, engineering, and 
        technology investment program, it must take reasonable steps to 
        ensure that the potential benefits derived from the program 
        will accrue broadly.


    (a) Policy.-- This Act is intended to--
            (1) assure a base level of Federal funding for basic 
        scientific, biomedical, and pre-competitive engineering 
        research, with this base level defined as a doubling of Federal 
        basic research funding over the 11 year period following the 
        date of enactment of this Act;
            (2) invest in the future economic growth of the United 
        States by expanding the research activities referred to in 
        paragraph (1);
            (3) enhance the quality of life and health for all people 
        of the United States through expanded support for health-
        related research;
            (4) allow for accelerated growth of agencies such as the 
        National Institutes of Health to meet critical national needs;
            (5) guarantee the leadership of the United States in 
        science, engineering, medicine, and technology; and
            (6) ensure that the opportunity and the support for 
        undertaking good science is widely available throughout the 
        United States by supporting a geographically-diverse research 
        and development enterprise.
    (b) Agencies Covered.--The agencies intended to be covered to the 
extent that they are engaged in science, engineering, and technology 
activities for basic scientific, medical, or pre-competitive 
engineering research by this Act are--
            (1) the National Institutes of Health, within the 
        Department of Health and Human Services;
            (2) the National Science Foundation;
            (3) the National Institute for Standards and Technology, 
        within the Department of Commerce;
            (4) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
            (5) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 
        within the Department of Commerce;
            (6) the Centers for Disease Control, within the Department 
        of Health and Human Services;
            (7) the Department of Energy (to the extent that it is not 
        engaged in defense-related activities);
            (8) the Department of Agriculture;
            (9) the Department of Transportation;
            (10) the Department of the Interior;
            (11) the Department of Veterans Affairs;
            (12) the Smithsonian Institution;
            (13) the Department of Education;
            (14) the Environmental Protection Agency; and
            (15) the Food and Drug Administration, within the 
        Department of Health and Human Services.
    (c) Damage to Research Infrastructure.--A continued trend of 
funding appropriations equal to or lower than current budgetary levels 
will lead to permanent damage to the United States research 
infrastructure. This could threaten American dominance of high-
technology industrial leadership.
    (d) Future Fiscal Year Allocations.--
            (1) Goals.--The long-term strategy for research and 
        development funding under this section would be achieved by a 
        steady 2.5 percent annual increase above the rate of inflation 
        throughout a 11-year period.
            (2) Inflation assumption.--The authorizations contained in 
        paragraph (3) assume that the rate of inflation for each year 
        will be 3 percent.
            (3) Authorization.--There are authorized to be appropriated 
        for civilian research and development in the agencies listed in 
        subsection (b)--
                    (A) $39,790,000,000 for fiscal year 2000;
                    (B) $41,980,000,000 for fiscal year 2001;
                    (C) $44,290,000,000 for fiscal year 2002;
                    (D) $46,720,000,000 for fiscal year 2003;
                    (E) $49,290,000,000 for fiscal year 2004;
                    (F) $52,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2005;
                    (G) $54,870,000,000 for fiscal year 2006;
                    (H) $57,880,000,000 for fiscal year 2007;
                    (I) $61,070,000,000 for fiscal year 2008;
                    (J) $64,420,000,000 for fiscal year 2009; and
                    (K) $67,970,000,000 for fiscal year 2010.
            (4) Acceleration to meet national needs.--
                    (A) In general.--If the amount appropriated for any 
                fiscal year to an agency for the purposes stated in 
                paragraph (3) increases by more than 8 percent over the 
                amount appropriated to it for those purposes for the 
                preceding fiscal year, then the amounts authorized by 
                paragraph (3) for subsequent fiscal years for that 
                agency and other agencies shall be determined under 
                subparagraphs (B) and (C).
                    (B) Exclusion of agency in determining other agency 
                amounts for next fiscal year.--For the next fiscal year 
                after a fiscal year described in subparagraph (A), the 
                amount authorized to be appropriated to other agencies 
                under paragraph (3) shall be determined by excluding 
                the agency described in subparagraph (A). Any amount 
                that would, but for this subparagraph, be authorized to 
                be appropriated to that agency shall not be 
                    (C) Resumption of regular treatment.--
                Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), an agency may not be 
                excluded from the determination of the amount 
                authorized to be appropriated under paragraph (3) for a 
                fiscal year following a fiscal year for which the sum 
                of the amounts appropriated to that agency for fiscal 
                year 2000 and all subsequent fiscal years for the 
                purposes described in paragraph (3) does not exceed the 
                sum of--
                            (i) the amount appropriated to that agency 
                        for such purposes for fiscal year 2000; and
                            (ii) the amounts that would have been 
                        appropriated for such purposes for subsequent 
                        fiscal years if the goal described in paragraph 
                        (1) had been met (and not exceeded) with 
                        respect to that agency's funding.
                    (D) No limitation on other funding.--Nothing in 
                this paragraph limits the amount that may be 
                appropriated to any agency for the purposes described 
                in paragraph (3).
    (e) Conformance with Budgetary Caps.--Notwithstanding any other 
provision of law, no funds may be made available under this Act in a 
manner that does not conform with the discretionary spending caps 
provided in the most recently adopted concurrent resolution on the 
budget or threatens the economic stability of the annual budget.
    (f) Balanced Research Portfolio.--Because of the interdependent 
nature of the scientific and engineering disciplines, the aggregate 
funding levels authorized by the section assume that the Federal 
research portfolio will be well-balanced among the various scientific 
and engineering disciplines, and geographically dispersed throughout 
the States.


    The President of the United States shall, in coordination with the 
President's annual budget request, include a report that parallels 
Congress' commitment to support federally-funded research and 
development by providing--
            (1) a detailed summary of the total level of funding for 
        research and development programs throughout all civilian 
            (2) a focused strategy that reflects the funding 
        projections of this Act for each future fiscal year until 2010, 
        including specific targets for each agency that funds civilian 
        research and development;
            (3) an analysis which details funding levels across Federal 
        agencies by methodology of funding, including grant agreements, 
        procurement contracts, and cooperative agreements (within the 
        meaning given those terms in chapter 63 of title 31, United 
        States Code); and
            (4) specific proposals for infrastructure development and 
        research and development capacity building in States with less 
        concentrated research and development resources in order to 
        create a nationwide research and development community.


    (a) Study.--The Director of the Office of Science and Technology 
Policy, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management 
and Budget, shall enter into agreement with the National Academy of 
Sciences for the Academy to conduct a comprehensive study to develop 
methods for evaluating federally-funded research and development 
programs. This study shall--
            (1) recommend processes to determine an acceptable level of 
        success for federally-funded research and development programs 
                    (A) describing the research process in the various 
                scientific and engineering disciplines;
                    (B) describing in the different sciences what 
                measures and what criteria each community uses to 
                evaluate the success or failure of a program, and on 
                what time scales these measures are considered 
                reliable--both for exploratory long-range work and for 
                short-range goals; and
                    (C) recommending how these measures may be adapted 
                for use by the Federal government to evaluate 
                federally-funded research and development programs;
            (2) assess the extent to which agencies incorporate 
        independent merit-based review into the formulation of the 
        strategic plans of funding agencies and if the quantity or 
        quality of this type of input is unsatisfactory;
            (3) recommend mechanisms for identifying federally-funded 
        research and development programs which are unsuccessful or 
            (4) evaluate the extent to which independent, merit-based 
        evaluation of federally-funded research and development 
        programs and projects achieves the goal of eliminating 
        unsuccessful or unproductive programs and projects; and
            (5) investigate and report on the validity of using 
        quantitative performance goals for aspects of programs which 
        relate to administrative management of the program and for 
        which such goals would be appropriate, including aspects 
        related to--
                    (A) administrative burden on contractors and 
                recipients of financial assistance awards;
                    (B) administrative burdens on external participants 
                in independent, merit-based evaluations;
                    (C) cost and schedule control for construction 
                projects funded by the program;
                    (D) the ratio of overhead costs of the program 
                relative to the amounts expended through the program 
                for equipment and direct funding of research; and
                    (E) the timeliness of program responses to requests 
                for funding, participation, or equipment use.
            (6) examine the extent to which program selection for 
        Federal funding across all agencies exemplifies our nation's 
        historical research and development priorities--
                    (A) basic, scientific, and technological research 
                in the long-term future scientific and technological 
                capacity of the nation; and
                    (B) mission research derived from a high-priority 
                public function.
    (b) Alternative Forms for Performance Goals.--Not later than 6 
months after transmitting the report under subsection (a) to Congress, 
the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, after public 
notice, public comment, and approval by the Director of the Office of 
Science and Technology Policy and in consultation with the National 
Science and Technology Council shall promulgate one or more alternative 
forms for performance goals under section 1115(b)(10)(B) of title 31, 
United States Code, based on the recommendations of the study under 
subsection (a) of this section. The head of each agency containing a 
program activity that is a research and development program may apply 
an alternative form promulgated under this section for a performance 
goal to such a program activity without further authorization by the 
Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
    (c) Strategic Plans.--Not later than one year after promulgation of 
the alternative performance goals in subsection (b) of this section, 
the head of each agency carrying out research and development 
activities, upon updating or revising a strategic plan under subsection 
306(b) of title 5, United States Code, shall describe the current and 
future use of methods for determining an acceptable level of success as 
recommended by the study under subsection (a).
    (d) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Director.--The term ``Director'' means the Director of 
        the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
            (2) Program activity.--The term ``program activity'' has 
        the meaning given that term by section 1115(f)(6) of title 31, 
        United States Code.
            (3) Independent merit-based evaluation.--The term 
        ``independent merit-based evaluation'' means review of the 
        scientific or technical quality of research or development, 
        conducted by experts who are chosen for their knowledge of 
        scientific and technical fields relevant to the evaluation and 
                    (A) in the case of the review of a program 
                activity, do not derive long-term support from the 
                program activity; or
                    (B) in the case of the review of a project 
                proposal, are not seeking funds in competition with the 
    (e) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out the study required by subsection (a) $600,000 
for the 18-month period beginning October 1, 2000.


    (a) In General.--Chapter 11 of title 31, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end thereof the following:
``Sec.  1120. Accountability for research and development programs
    ``(a) Identification of Unsuccessful Programs.--Based upon program 
performance reports for each fiscal year submitted to the President 
under section 1116, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget 
shall identify the civilian research and development program 
activities, or components thereof, which do not meet an acceptable 
level of success as defined in section 1115(b)(1)(B). Not later than 30 
days after the submission of the reports under section 1116, the 
Director shall furnish a copy of a report listing the program 
activities or component identified under this subsection to the 
President and the Congress.
    ``(b) Accountability if No Improvement Shown.--For each program 
activity or component that is identified by the Director under 
subsection (a) as being below the acceptable level of success for 2 
fiscal years in a row, the head of the agency shall no later than 30 
days after the Director submits the second report so identifying the 
program, submit to the appropriate congressional committees of 
            ``(1) a concise statement of the steps necessary to--
                    ``(A) bring such program into compliance with 
                performance goals; or
                    ``(B) terminate such program should compliance 
                efforts fail; and
            ``(2) any legislative changes needed to put the steps 
        contained in such statement into effect.''.
    (b) Conforming Amendments.--
            (1) The chapter analysis for chapter 11 of title 31, United 
        States Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the 

``1120. Accountability for research and development programs''.
            (2) Section 1115(f) of title 31, United States Code, is 
        amended by striking ``through 1119,'' and inserting ``through 

            Passed the Senate July 26, 1999.


                                                    GARY SISCO,


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