FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUNSHINE ACT OF 2015
(House of Representatives - June 23, 2015)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 101 (Tuesday, June 23, 2015)]
[Pages H4572-H4574]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




     FEDERALLY FUNDED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUNSHINE ACT OF 2015

  Mr. RATCLIFFE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 1637) to require annual reports on the activities and 
accomplishments of federally funded research and

[[Page H4573]]

development centers within the Department of Homeland Security, and for 
other purposes.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 1637

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Federally Funded Research 
     and Development Sunshine Act of 2015''.

     SEC. 2. ANNUAL REPORTS ON PROJECTS OF FEDERALLY FUNDED 
                   RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTERS WITHIN THE 
                   DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of Homeland Security shall 
     annually submit to the Committee on Homeland Security, the 
     Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and the 
     Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives 
     and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental 
     Affairs, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
     Transportation, and the Committee on Appropriations of the 
     Senate a list of ongoing and completed projects that 
     federally funded research and development centers within the 
     Department of Homeland Security have been tasked to complete.
       (b) Prohibition on New Authorization of Funding.--This 
     section shall be carried out using amounts otherwise 
     appropriated or made available to the Department of Homeland 
     Security. No additional funds are authorized to be 
     appropriated to carry out this section.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Ratcliffe) and the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Thompson) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas.


                             General Leave

  Mr. RATCLIFFE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks 
and include any extraneous material on the bill under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. RATCLIFFE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1637, the 
Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 2015.
  Mr. Speaker, I am honored to represent 700,000 north and east Texans. 
They have sent me here to Washington to pull the curtain back and shine 
a light into this Federal bureaucracy.
  Mr. Speaker, we all know that Federal agencies can be inefficient, 
ineffective, and resistant to oversight. They don't like to be held 
accountable, not by the American people or by individuals like me who 
are elected to represent those folks here in Congress.
  As a committed conservative who is fighting to secure the American 
homeland, I believe that increased transparency is a national security 
issue, and because of that, every taxpayer dollar that we spend must be 
scrutinized.
  We have to evaluate the government's programs and activities to see 
if they are worthwhile and to craft reforms that eliminate waste and 
bolster our national defense. A sluggish national security apparatus 
simply won't suffice. The American people deserve more.
  Congress can't even begin to conduct effective oversight and cut 
waste, fraud, and abuse if we don't know what is going on behind closed 
doors. That is why I introduced H.R. 1637. This bill will increase 
transparency at the Department of Homeland Security by directing the 
Secretary to give Congress a detailed account each year of the ongoing 
and completed projects that federally funded research and development 
centers, or FFRDCs, within the Department of Homeland Security have 
been assigned.
  FFRDCs conduct specialized research and development for the Federal 
Government. The two FFRDCs within the Department of Homeland Security 
provide independent analysis of homeland security issues. Currently, 
the Homeland Security Committee is expected to oversee these FFRDCs; 
yet the committee doesn't even receive an account of the status of 
ongoing or completed projects. It is hard to be a vigilant steward of 
hard-earned taxpayer dollars when you have a blindfold on.
  My legislation will enable the committee to have visibility into the 
scope of FFRDC projects that the DHS has tasked them to meet their 
mission needs. This detailed accounting will allow committee members to 
have insight into current research and development projects and be able 
to further scrutinize them, thereby increasing oversight and 
transparency of the entire Science and Technology Directorate operation 
at DHS.
  Mr. Speaker, it is important that Congress is aware of the Department 
of Homeland Security's research and development efforts and funding 
priorities to ensure that it is meeting the mission needs of its 
components, and this bill today will shed light on those activities.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill. I 
think that we all agree that we can support increased transparency and 
a stronger, more secure homeland.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

         House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space, 
           and Technology,
                                    Washington, DC, June 23, 2015.
     Hon. Michael T. McCaul,
     Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security, House of 
         Representatives, Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing concerning H.R. 1637, the 
     ``Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 
     2015,'' which your Committee ordered reported on May 20, 
     2015.
       H.R. 1637 contains provisions within the Committee on 
     Science, Space, and Technology's Rule X jurisdiction. As a 
     result of your having consulted with the Committee and in 
     order to expedite this bill for floor consideration, the 
     Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will not seek a 
     sequential referral. This is being done on the basis of our 
     mutual understanding that doing so will in no way diminish or 
     alter the jurisdiction of the Committee on Science, Space, 
     and Technology with respect to the appointment of conferees, 
     or to any future jurisdictional claim over the subject 
     matters contained in the bill or similar legislation.
       I would appreciate your response to this letter confirming 
     this understanding, and would request that you include a copy 
     of this letter and your response in the Congressional Record 
     during the floor consideration of this bill. Thank you in 
     advance for your cooperation.
           Sincerely,
                                                      Lamar Smith,
     Chairman.
                                  ____

                                         House of Representatives,


                               Committee on Homeland Security,

                                    Washington, DC, June 23, 2015.
     Hon. Lamar Smith,
     Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Smith: Thank you for your letter regarding 
     H.R. 1637, the ``Federally Funded Research and Development 
     Sunshine Act.'' I appreciate your support in bringing this 
     legislation before the House of Representatives, and 
     accordingly, understand that the Committee on Science, Space, 
     and Technology will not seek a sequential referral on the 
     bill.
       The Committee on Homeland Security concurs with the mutual 
     understanding that by foregoing a sequential referral of this 
     bill at this time, the Committee on Science, Space, and 
     Technology does not waive any jurisdiction over the subject 
     matter contained in this bill or similar legislation in the 
     future. In addition, should a conference on this bill be 
     necessary, I would support a request by the Committee on 
     Science, Space, and Technology for conferees on those 
     provisions within your jurisdiction.
       I will insert copies of this exchange in the Congressional 
     Record during consideration of this bill on the House floor. 
     I thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
           Sincerely,
                                                Michael T. McCaul,
                                                         Chairman.

  Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as 
I may consume, and I rise in strong support of H.R. 1637, the Federally 
Funded Research and Development Act of 2015, and.
  Mr. Speaker, this legislation would require the Department of 
Homeland Security to prepare annual status reports on the research 
activities of federally funded research and development centers, or 
FFRDCs, on behalf of the Department.

                              {time}  1700

  DHS looks to these institutions that are largely operated by 
universities and not-for-profit organizations to help meet special 
long-term research and development needs.
  In addition to the two FFRDCs that DHS sponsors, there are 17 
national labs managed by the Department of Energy that provide research 
and technical assistance in support of the Nation's homeland security.
  Among the areas of research expertise offered by these labs are 
critical

[[Page H4574]]

infrastructure protection; cybersecurity; chemical, biological, and 
nuclear forensics; biodefense countermeasures; biodetection; and 
emergency preparedness.
  I believe that timely and regular information about how DHS is 
utilizing these institutions is important to assessing progress on a 
wide range of homeland security challenges. That is why I support H.R. 
1631 and urge passage.
  I want to commend members of the Homeland Security Committee on the 
bipartisan nature in which this legislation has been crafted. It is 
important for us to know how DHS is using federally funded research and 
development centers to address homeland security challenges.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. RATCLIFFE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, I, once again, urge my colleagues to support this 
strong, commonsense bipartisan piece of legislation, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, as a senior member of the Homeland 
Security Committee, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1637, the 
``Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 2015.''
  I support this bipartisan legislation which requires annual reports 
on the activities and accomplishments of federally funded research and 
development centers within the department of Homeland Security.
  The bill requires that the secretary of Homeland Security annually 
submit to Congressional oversight committees a list of ongoing and 
completed projects lead by federally funded research and development 
centers within the Department of Homeland Security have been assigned 
or completed.
  Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) act as a 
vehicle for special research and development contracting within the 
federal government.
  The FFRDCs provide DHS with independent and objective advice and 
quick response on critical issues throughout the Homeland Security 
Enterprise.
  Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute 
(HSSEDI) and Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute (HSSAI) 
perform high-quality research and provide advice that is authoritative, 
objective and free from conflicts of interest caused by competition.
  I support H.R. 1637, which provides much needed transparency on the 
research conducted by the Department of Homeland security.
  I urge all of my colleagues to join me in strong support of the 
suspension bill, H.R. 1637, the ``Federally Funded Research and 
Development Sunshine Act of 2015.''
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Ratcliffe) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 1637.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________