H. Rept. 113-348 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
February 06, 2014, As Reported by the Science, Space, and Technology Committee

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House Report 113-348 - NATIONAL INTEGRATED DROUGHT INFORMATION SYSTEM REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2013




[House Report 113-348]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


113th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     113-348

======================================================================



 
 NATIONAL INTEGRATED DROUGHT INFORMATION SYSTEM REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 
                                  2013

                                _______
                                

February 6, 2014.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on Science, Space, and 
                  Technology, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2431]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 2431) to reauthorize the National 
Integrated Drought Information System, having considered the 
same, report favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend 
that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
   I. Amendment.......................................................2
  II. Purpose and Summary.............................................3
 III. Background and Need for the Legislation.........................3
  IV. Hearing Summary.................................................4
   V. Committee Consideration.........................................4
  VI. Committee Votes.................................................5
 VII. Summary of Major Provisions of the Bill.........................7
VIII. Committee Views.................................................7
  IX. Committee Oversight Findings....................................7
   X. Statement on General Performance Goals and Objectives...........8
  XI. New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditure8
 XII. Advisory on Earmarks............................................8
XIII. Committee Cost Estimate.........................................8
 XIV. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate.......................8
  XV. Federal Mandates Statement.....................................10
 XVI. Compliance with House Resolution 5.............................10
XVII. Federal Advisory Committee Statement...........................10
XVIII.Applicability to Legislative Branch............................10

 XIX. Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation.................10
  XX. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, As Reported..........11
 XXI. Proceedings of the Full Committee Markup.......................14

                              I. Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``National Integrated Drought 
Information System Reauthorization Act of 2013''.

SEC. 2. NIDIS PROGRAM AMENDMENTS.

  Section 3 of the National Integrated Drought Information System Act 
of 2006 (15 U.S.C. 313d) is amended--
          (1) in subsection (a), by inserting before the period at the 
        end the following: ``to better inform and provide for more 
        timely decisionmaking to reduce drought related impacts and 
        costs'';
          (2) by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:
  ``(b) System Functions.--The National Integrated Drought Information 
System shall--
          ``(1) provide an effective drought early warning system 
        that--
                  ``(A) collects and integrates information on the key 
                indicators of drought and drought impacts in order to 
                make usable, reliable, and timely forecasts of drought, 
                including assessments of the severity of drought 
                conditions and impacts; and
                  ``(B) provides such information, forecasts, and 
                assessments on both national and regional levels;
          ``(2) communicate drought forecasts, drought conditions, and 
        drought impacts on an ongoing basis to public and private 
        entities engaged in drought planning and preparedness, 
        including--
                  ``(A) decisionmakers at the Federal, regional, State, 
                tribal, and local levels of government;
                  ``(B) the private sector; and
                  ``(C) the public;
          ``(3) provide timely data, information, and products that 
        reflect local, regional, and State differences in drought 
        conditions;
          ``(4) coordinate, and integrate as practicable, Federal 
        research and monitoring in support of a drought early warning 
        system;
          ``(5) build upon existing forecasting and assessment programs 
        and partnerships, including through the designation of one or 
        more cooperative institutes to assist with National Integrated 
        Drought Information System functions; and
          ``(6) continue ongoing research and monitoring activities 
        related to drought, including research activities relating to 
        length, severity, and impacts of drought and the role of 
        extreme weather events and climate variability in drought.''; 
        and
          (3) by adding at the end the following:
  ``(e) Report.--
          ``(1) In general.--Not later than 18 months after the date of 
        enactment of the National Integrated Drought Information System 
        Reauthorization Act of 2013, the Under Secretary shall transmit 
        to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House 
        of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
        Transportation of the Senate a report that contains--
                  ``(A) an analysis of the implementation of the 
                National Integrated Drought Information System program, 
                including how the information, forecasts, and 
                assessments are utilized in drought policy planning and 
                response activities;
                  ``(B) specific plans for continued development of 
                such program, including future milestones; and
                  ``(C) an identification of research, monitoring, and 
                forecasting needs to enhance the predictive capability 
                of drought early warnings that include--
                          ``(i) the length and severity of droughts;
                          ``(ii) the contribution of weather events to 
                        reducing the severity or ending drought 
                        conditions; and
                          ``(iii) regionally specific drought impacts.
          ``(2) Consultation.--In developing the report under paragraph 
        (1), the Under Secretary shall consult with relevant Federal, 
        regional, State, tribal, and local government agencies, 
        research institutions, and the private sector.''.

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  Section 4 of such Act (15 U.S.C. 313d note) is amended to read as 
follows:

``SEC. 4. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  ``There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act 
$13,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018.''.

                        II. Purpose and Summary

    The purpose of H.R. 2431, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Hall, is 
to reauthorize the National Integrated Drought Information 
System Act (NIDIS). H.R. 2431 modifies existing language to 
distinguish between the function of the NIDIS program in 
general and the early warning system. It also requires the 
Undersecretary to submit a report detailing the implementation 
of the NIDIS program.

              III. Background and Need for the Legislation

    Drought has afflicted portions of North America for 
thousands of years, and continues to impact substantial 
portions of the United States. As of January 28, 2014, more 
than 35 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing 
moderate to exceptional drought conditions. For significant 
periods in 2012 and 2013, more than half of the country was in 
a drought.\1\ Consequently, the coordination of resources to 
effectively manage drought is critical. In a 2013 report by the 
Congressional Research Service, drought's impact on North 
America is described:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DataArchive/Tables.aspx.

          Drought often results in agricultural losses, which 
        can have local, regional, and national effects. It also 
        can affect other industries and services, including 
        power and energy resource production, navigation, 
        recreation, municipal water supplies, and natural 
        resources such as fisheries, aquatic species, and water 
        quality. How to address these impacts is an often 
        recurring issue for Congress. Addressing drought on an 
        emergency basis is costly to individuals, communities, 
        and businesses. Additionally, millions and sometimes 
        billions of dollars in federal assistance can be 
        expended in response to drought's social consequences. 
        Thus, another recurrent policy issue is how to prepare 
        and mitigate future drought impacts and how to do so 
        efficiently across the many federal agencies with 
        various and sometimes overlapping drought 
        responsibilities.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Congressional Research Service. Drought in the United States: 
Causes and Issues for Congress. RL34580. April 22, 2013.

    The NIDIS program is housed within the Office of Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Research at the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The goal of NIDIS is to 
``improve the nation's capacity to proactively manage drought-
related risks, by providing those affected with the best 
available information and tools to assess the potential impacts 
of drought, and to better prepare for and mitigate the effects 
of drought.''\3\ In support of these goals, NOAA conducted 
workshops with federal, state, and local agencies, academic 
researchers, and other stakeholders to solicit input on how to 
develop a path forward. This culminated in the 2007 NIDIS 
Implementation Plan, which outlined the governance structure, 
priorities, and operational requirements needed to meet the 
Program's objectives.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\The National Integrated Drought Information System 
Implementation Plan: A Pathway for National Resilience,'' June 2007. 
Accessible at: http://www.drought.gov/pdf/NIDIS-IPFinal-June07.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In support of the overall program goals, the NIDIS Program 
is engaged in the collection, consolidation, and dissemination 
of drought-related data and information on an ongoing basis. 
The Program develops ``a suite of usable drought decision 
support tools focused on critical management indicators, 
thresholds and triggers, and engages and enables proactive 
planning by those affected by drought.''\4\ In this function, 
NIDIS acts as a data clearinghouse, and works to develop and 
actively support a collaborative framework between researchers 
and managers. The Program also conducts knowledge assessments 
to ``determine where major drought-information gaps occur and 
where research improvements are needed'' as well as to 
``coordinate capabilities among those conducting research and 
research activities.''\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\Roger Pulwarty, Fall 2011 NIDIS Drought Research Special Issue, 
``Coping with Drought: Research in Support of NIDIS'' Volume 2, Issue 
2. Accessible at: http://drought.gov/imageserver/NIDIS/newsletter/
Fall_2011_Research_Special_Issue.pdf.
    \5\Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The NIDIS Program developed and currently operates the U.S. 
Drought Portal, a website that features a range of services 
related to drought, including historical data on past droughts, 
current data from climate observations, early warnings about 
emerging and potential droughts, decision support services for 
managing droughts, and a forum for stakeholders to discuss 
drought-related issues.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\NOAA Climate Program Office, National Integrated Drought 
Information System. Accessible at: http://www.cpo.noaa.gov/cpo_pa/
nidis/pdf/NIDIS_Feb17.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          IV. Hearing Summary

    The Environment Subcommittee held a roundtable on H.R. 2431 
and NIDIS on October 2, 2013. The purpose of the roundtable was 
to examine the state of drought forecasting, monitoring, and 
decision-making and the role of the National Integrated Drought 
Information System (NIDIS) in drought planning.
    The Subcommittee received testimony from: Mr. J.D. Strong, 
Executive Director, Oklahoma Water Resources Board; and Dr. 
Donald Wilhite, Professor, School of Natural Resources, 
University of Nebraska.
    The Committee also held a hearing reviewing the NIDIS 
program on July 25, 2012, on drought forecasting, monitoring, 
and decision-making at which witnesses discussed substantially 
similar draft legislation. The Committee heard testimony from: 
Dr. Roger S. Pulwarty, the Director of the National Integrated 
Drought Information System at the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration; The Honorable Gregory A. Ballard, 
the Mayor of Indianapolis; Mr. J.D. Strong, the Executive 
Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board; Dr. James 
Famiglietti, Professor and Director of Earth System Science at 
the University of California, Irvine; and Ms. Patricia 
Langenfelder, President of the Maryland Farm Bureau.

                       V. Committee Consideration

    On June 19, 2013, H.R. 2431, the ``National Integrated 
Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2013'' was 
introduced by Rep. Ralph Hall and referred to the Committee on 
Science, Space, and Technology.
    On December 5, 2013, the Committee on Science, Space, and 
Technology met in open markup session and adopted H.R. 2431, as 
amended, by voice vote. Further, the Committee ordered H.R. 
2431 favorably reported to the House, as amended, by voice 
vote.

                          VI. Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report legislation and amendments thereto. A 
motion to order H.R. 2431 favorably reported to the House, as 
amended, was agreed to by voice vote.
    During Full Committee consideration of H.R. 2431, the 
following amendments were considered:
<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>

              VII. Summary of Major Provisions of the Bill

    NIDIS Program Amendments: The bill modifies existing 
language to distinguish between the function of the NIDIS 
program in general and the early warning system specifically. 
It also adds a new subsection (e) which requires the 
Undersecretary of Commerce to provide the Committee with a 
report 18 months after enactment. This report is required to: 
(1) include an analysis of the implementation of NIDIS, 
including how the information, forecasts, and assessments are 
utilized in drought planning policy and response activities; 
(2) describe specific plans, including future milestones, for 
continued development of such programs; and (3) identify 
research, monitoring, and forecasting needs to enhance the 
predictive capability of drought early warnings.
    Authorization: H.R. 2431 amends Section 4 of the 2006 NIDIS 
Act to authorize appropriations for each of fiscal years 2014 
through 2018.

                         VIII. Committee Views

    H.R. 2431 would help prioritize and protect important 
investments that improve the development and dissemination of 
useful drought information. As NOAA implements these 
improvements to the National Integrated Drought Information 
System, the Committee expects NOAA to continue leveraging 
existing information, systems and expertise to provide accurate 
forecasts and early warnings for the United States. The 
Committee intends the bill's coordination provisions to 
streamline and enhance NIDIS' interagency, intergovernmental, 
and public-private collaboration, including through codifying 
existing partnerships with cooperative institutes.
    Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of 
this Act, the legislation requires NOAA, in consultation with 
federal, regional, state, tribal, and local government 
agencies, research institutions, and the private sector, to 
produce a report, that includes an analysis of the 
implementation of NIDIS, including specifically how forecasts 
and assessments are utilized in drought planning policy and 
response activities. The report will also help to inform 
specific plans and milestones for continued development. 
Finally, the report will identify research, monitoring, and 
forecasting needs to enhance the predictive capability of 
drought early warnings, as well as the severity and length of 
present droughts. The report shall be made widely available to 
stakeholders and the public, as well as be provided to the 
House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the 
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

                    IX. Committee Oversight Findings

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee held an oversight 
hearing and made findings that are reflected in the descriptive 
portions of this report.

        X. Statement on General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the performance goals and 
objectives of the Committee are reflected in the descriptive 
portions of this report, including the goal to prioritize and 
protect important investments that improve the development and 
dissemination of useful drought information.

 XI. New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its 
own the estimate of new budget authority, entitlement 
authority, or tax expenditures or revenues contained in the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

                       XII. Advisory on Earmarks

    In compliance with clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI, 
the Committee finds that H.R. 2431, the ``National Integrated 
Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2013'', 
contains no earmarks.

                     XIII. Committee Cost Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared 
by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

             XIV. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, December 20, 2013.
Hon. Lamar Smith,
Chairman, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional. Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2431, th.e 
National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization 
Act of 2013.
    If you wish further detail's on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jeff LaFave.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 2431--National Integrated Drought Information System 
        Reauthorization Act of 2013

    Summary: H.R. 2431 would amend the National integrated 
Drought information System Act of 2006. The bill, would 
authorize the appropriation of $13.5 million annually over the 
2014-2018 period for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric. 
Administration (NOAA) to maintain a system to provide early 
warnings of droughts by collecting and disseminating 
information and coordinating research on drought conditions.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing the legislation would cost $60 
million over the 2014-2018 period and $8 million after 2018. 
Enacting H.R. 2431 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    H.R. 2431 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 2431 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                    ------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       2014      2015      2016      2017      2018    2014-2018
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION.

Authorization Level................................        14        14        14        14        14         68
Estimated Outlays..................................         9        11        13        14        14        60
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Amounts may not sum to totals because of rounding.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted early in 2014 and that the 
authorized amounts will he appropriated for each fiscal year. 
Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
this program. Although funds have probably been appropriated 
through January 15, 2014, to conduct activities authorized 
under the bill, CBO cannot identify those amounts because NOAA 
has not yet allocated its 2014 appropriations for those 
activities.
    Pay-As-You-Go Considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 2431 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Previous CBO estimate: On September 5, 2013, CBO 
transmitted a cost estimate for S. 376, the Drought Information 
Act of 2013, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation on July 30, 2013. The two 
bills are similar; however, the Senate version of the bill 
would authorize the appropriation of $14.5 million a year over 
the 2014-2018 period. The CBO cost estimates reflect that 
difference.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Jeff LaFave; Impact on 
state, local, and tribal governments: Melissa Merrell; Impact 
on the private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                     XV. Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

                     XVI. Compliance With H. Res. 5

    A. Directed Rule Making. This bill does not direct any 
executive branch official to conduct any specific rule-making 
proceedings.
    B. Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

               XVII. Federal Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

               XVIII. Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) f the Congressional Accountability Act.

                    XIX. Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    This section establishes the short title of the bill as 
``The National Integrated Drought Information System 
Reauthorization Act of 2013''.

Section 2. NIDIS Program amendments

    This section adds to the purpose of the NIDIS program ``to 
better inform and provide for more timely decision making to 
reduce drought related impacts and costs.''
    Section 2 modifies existing language to distinguish between 
the function of the NIDIS program in general and the early 
warning system specifically. The functions are largely the same 
as those in existing law, reorganized to reflect the 
distinction. The only additional function is to allow NIDIS to 
``continue ongoing research activities related to drought.'' 
Section 2 reestablishes NIDIS system functions including 
building upon forecasting and assessment partnerships and the 
designation of one or more cooperative institutes to assist 
with NIDIS functions.
    Section 2 also adds a new subsection (e) which requires the 
Undersecretary of Commerce to provide the Committee with a 
report 18 months after enactment. This report should (i) 
include an analysis of the implementation of NIDIS, including 
how the information, forecasts, and assessments are utilized in 
drought planning policy and response activities; (ii) describe 
specific plans, including future milestones, for continued 
development of such programs; and (iii) identify research, 
monitoring, and forecasting needs to enhance the predictive 
capability of drought early warnings, the length and severity 
of droughts, and the contribution of weather events to reducing 
or ending drought conditions. In developing this report, the 
Undersecretary is also required to consult with relevant 
Federal, regional, State, tribal, and local government 
agencies, research institutions, and the private sector.

Section 3. Authorization of appropriations

    Section 3 amends Section 4 of the 2006 Act to authorize 
appropriations for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018.

       XX. Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

NATIONAL INTEGRATED DROUGHT INFORMATION SYSTEM ACT OF 2006

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 3. NIDIS PROGRAM.

  (a) In General.--The Under Secretary, through the National 
Weather Service and other appropriate weather and climate 
programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, shall establish a National Integrated Drought 
Information System to better inform and provide for more timely 
decisionmaking to reduce drought related impacts and costs.
  [(b) System Functions.--The National Integrated Drought 
Information System shall--
          [(1) provide an effective drought early warning 
        system that--
                  [(A) is a comprehensive system that collects 
                and integrates information on the key 
                indicators of drought in order to make usable, 
                reliable, and timely drought forecasts and 
                assessments of drought, including assessments 
                of the severity of drought conditions and 
                impacts;
                  [(B) communicates drought forecasts, drought 
                conditions, and drought impacts on an ongoing 
                basis to--
                          [(i) decisionmakers at the Federal, 
                        regional, State, tribal, and local 
                        levels of government;
                          [(ii) the private sector; and
                          [(iii) the public,
                in order to engender better informed and more 
                timely decisions thereby leading to reduced 
                impacts and costs; and
                  [(C) includes timely (where possible real-
                time) data, information, and products that 
                reflect local, regional, and State differences 
                in drought conditions;
          [(2) coordinate, and integrate as practicable, 
        Federal research in support of a drought early warning 
        system; and
          [(3) build upon existing forecasting and assessment 
        programs and partnerships.]
  (b) System Functions.--The National Integrated Drought 
Information System shall--
          (1) provide an effective drought early warning system 
        that--
                  (A) collects and integrates information on 
                the key indicators of drought and drought 
                impacts in order to make usable, reliable, and 
                timely forecasts of drought, including 
                assessments of the severity of drought 
                conditions and impacts; and
                  (B) provides such information, forecasts, and 
                assessments on both national and regional 
                levels;
          (2) communicate drought forecasts, drought 
        conditions, and drought impacts on an ongoing basis to 
        public and private entities engaged in drought planning 
        and preparedness, including--
                  (A) decisionmakers at the Federal, regional, 
                State, tribal, and local levels of government;
                  (B) the private sector; and
                  (C) the public;
          (3) provide timely data, information, and products 
        that reflect local, regional, and State differences in 
        drought conditions;
          (4) coordinate, and integrate as practicable, Federal 
        research and monitoring in support of a drought early 
        warning system;
          (5) build upon existing forecasting and assessment 
        programs and partnerships, including through the 
        designation of one or more cooperative institutes to 
        assist with National Integrated Drought Information 
        System functions; and
          (6) continue ongoing research and monitoring 
        activities related to drought, including research 
        activities relating to length, severity, and impacts of 
        drought and the role of extreme weather events and 
        climate variability in drought.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (e) Report.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 18 months after the 
        date of enactment of the National Integrated Drought 
        Information System Reauthorization Act of 2013, the 
        Under Secretary shall transmit to the Committee on 
        Science, Space, and Technology of the House of 
        Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, 
        and Transportation of the Senate a report that 
        contains--
                  (A) an analysis of the implementation of the 
                National Integrated Drought Information System 
                program, including how the information, 
                forecasts, and assessments are utilized in 
                drought policy planning and response 
                activities;
                  (B) specific plans for continued development 
                of such program, including future milestones; 
                and
                  (C) an identification of research, 
                monitoring, and forecasting needs to enhance 
                the predictive capability of drought early 
                warnings that include--
                          (i) the length and severity of 
                        droughts;
                          (ii) the contribution of weather 
                        events to reducing the severity or 
                        ending drought conditions; and
                          (iii) regionally specific drought 
                        impacts.
          (2) Consultation.--In developing the report under 
        paragraph (1), the Under Secretary shall consult with 
        relevant Federal, regional, State, tribal, and local 
        government agencies, research institutions, and the 
        private sector.

[SEC. 4. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  [There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this 
Act--
          [(1) $11,000,000 for fiscal year 2007;
          [(2) $12,000,000 for fiscal year 2008;
          [(3) $13,000,000 for fiscal year 2009;
          [(4) $14,000,000 for fiscal year 2010;
          [(5) $15,000,000 for fiscal year 2011; and
          [(6) $16,000,000 for fiscal year 2012.]

SEC. 4. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act 
$13,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018.



    XXI. PROCEEDINGS OF THE FULL COMMITTEE MARKUP ON H.R. 2431, THE 
 NATIONAL INTEGRATED DROUGHT INFORMATION SYSTEM REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 
                                  2013

                              ----------                              


                       THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2013

                  House of Representatives,
       Committee on Science, Space, and Technology,
                                            Washington, DC.


    The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 9:08 a.m., in Room 
2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Lamar Smith 
[Chairman of the Committee] presiding.
    Chairman Smith. The Committee on Science, Space and 
Technology will come to order. Without objection, the Chair is 
authorized to declare recesses of the Committee at any time. 
Pursuant to Committee Rule 2F and House Rule 112(h)(4), the 
Chair announces that he may postpone roll call votes. Now, I 
will recognize myself in opening statement.
    The Science, Space and Technology Committee today meets to 
mark up four bills, H.R. 2413, the Weather Forecasting 
Improvement Act of 2013 offered by Mr. Bridenstine of Oklahoma, 
H.R. 2431, the National Integrated Drought Information System 
Reauthorization Act of 2013, sponsored by Mr. Hall of Texas, 
H.R. 2981, the Technology and Research Accelerating National 
Security and Future Economic Resiliency Act of 2013, or 
TRANSFER Act, sponsored by Mr. Collins of New York, and H.R. 
3625, offered by Mr. Brooks of Alabama, which provides for 
termination liability costs for certain high priority NASA 
projects. Each of the bill sponsors will explain their bill in 
more detail shortly. But let me offer my views on each very 
briefly.
    Mr. Bridenstine's weather forecasting bill protects lives 
and property through improved weather research to better 
forecast warnings of tornadoes and hurricanes. Now, I want to 
compliment Mr. Bridenstine for working with Environment 
Subcommittee Chairman Chris Stewart and Ranking Member Suzanne 
Bonamici in drafting a bipartisan amendment which strengthens 
this bill.
    Our second bill is H.R. 2431, the National Integrated 
Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2013 by Mr. 
Hall. And I thank the gentleman for his persistent leadership 
over the years on this issue. Droughts in Texas and elsewhere 
had been severe, and the NIDIS program has helped state and 
local governments, farmers, ranchers and others both monitor 
and predict drought conditions. A companion bill has already 
been reported by the Senate Commerce Committee. The goal is to 
reach an agreement with our Senate counterparts so we can put 
this bipartisan bill on the President's desk early next year.
    Our third bill, the TRANSFER Act, sponsored by Mr. Collins 
of New York, has bipartisan co-sponsors and many endorsements. 
The bill accelerates the transition of technology developed at 
universities, Federal laboratories and non-profit research 
institutions to the private sector. Mr. Collins has himself 
started several small businesses and currently chairs the Small 
Business Health and Technology Subcommittee. His personal 
experience has made him a champion for small businesses.
    Finally, our fourth bill sponsored by Mr. Brooks of Alabama 
protects funding for key NASA programs. It also frees up over 
half a billion dollars in funding that Congress already 
provided the agency toward the development of the space launch 
system, an Orion crew vehicle and space station operations. 
Unfortunately, NASA's chief financial officer decided to change 
NASA's rules on termination liability three years ago from the 
way NASA managed termination liability for over 50 years. We 
need to fix this situation with this bill. These funds will be 
freed up to do what Congress intended, develop these high 
priority NASA programs. With an amendment to be sponsored by 
Ms. Edwards that I support, we have bipartisan support for Mr. 
Brooks' bill to address NASA termination liability. And I want 
to thank Mr. Brooks for his initiative on this issue, along 
with Space Subcommittee Chairman Steve Palazzo who also sought 
to address this issue with the NASA reauthorization bill.
    All four bills provide bipartisan commonsense solutions 
that will keep America competitive and on the forefront of 
innovation. So I urge my colleagues to support all the bills.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Smith follows:]
               Prepared Statement of Chairman Lamar Smith

    The Science, Space, and Technology Committee meets today to mark-up 
four bills:

    
  H.R. 2413, the ``Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 
2013,'' offered by Mr. Bridenstine of Oklahoma;

    
  H.R. 2431, the ``National Integrated Drought Information 
System Reauthorization Act of 2013,'' sponsored by Mr. Hall of Texas;

    
  H.R. 2981, the ``Technology and Research Accelerating 
National Security and Future Economic Resiliency Act of 2013,'' or 
TRANSFER Act, sponsored by Mr. Collins of New York; and

    
  H.R. 3625, offered by Mr. Brooks of Alabama, which 
provides for termination liability costs for certain hi-priority NASA 
projects.

    Each of the bills' sponsors will explain their bill in more detail 
shortly, but let me offer my views on each.
    Mr. Bridenstine's weather forecasting bill protects lives and 
property through improved weather research to better forecast warnings 
of tornadoes and hurricanes.
    I want to compliment Mr. Bridenstine for working with Environment 
Subcommittee Chairman Chris Stewart and Ranking Member Suzanne Bonamici 
in drafting a bipartisan amendment that strengthens this bill.
    Our second bill today is H.R. 2431, The National Integrated Drought 
Information System Reauthorization Act of 2013, offered by Mr. Hall of 
Texas. I thank the gentleman for his persistent leadership over the 
years on this issue.
    Droughts in Texas have been severe, and the NIDIS [pronounced NEYE-
Diss] program has helped state and local governments, farmers, 
ranchers, and others both monitor and predict drought conditions.
    A companion bill has already been reported by the Senate Commerce 
Committee. The goal is to reach an agreement with our Senate 
counterparts so we can put this bipartisan bill on the President's desk 
early next year.
    Our third bill, the TRANSFER Act, sponsored by Mr. Collins of New 
York has bipartisan cosponsors and many endorsements.
    This bill accelerates the transition of technology developed at 
universities, federal laboratories and non-profit research institutions 
to the private sector. Mr. Collins has himself started several small 
businesses and currently chairs the Small Business Health and 
Technology Subcommittee. His personal experiences make him a champion 
for small businesses.
    Finally, our fourth bill, sponsored by Mr. Brooks of Alabama, 
protects funding for key NASA programs. It also frees up over half a 
billion dollars in funding that Congress already provided the agency 
toward the development of the Space Launch System and Orion Crew 
Vehicle and Space Station operations.
    Unfortunately, NASA's Chief Financial Officer decided to change 
NASA's rules on termination liability three years ago from the way NASA 
managed termination liability for over 50 years. We seek to fix this 
situation with this bill.
    These funds will be freed up to do what Congress intended-develop 
these high-priority NASA programs.
    With an amendment to be sponsored by Ms. Edwards that I support, we 
have bipartisan support for Mr. Brooks' bill to address NASA 
termination liability.
    I want to thank Mr. Brooks for his initiative on this issue, along 
with Space Subcommittee Chairman Steve Palazzo, who also sought to 
address this issue with the NASA authorization bill.
    All four bills provide bipartisan common-sense solutions that will 
keep America competitive and on the forefront of innovation. I urge my 
colleagues to support all four bills.

    Chairman Smith. I now recognize the Ranking Member, the 
gentlewoman from Texas, Ms. Johnson, for her opening statement.
    Ms. Johnson. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I do 
apologize for whatever this voice may come out to be this 
morning. Today, we are marking up four relatively bipartisan 
bills, and it is my hope that they will be even more bipartisan 
after today's markup.
    First, we have H.R. 2413, the Weather Forecasting 
Improvement Act of 2013. Weather forecasting and weather 
research are issues that should be truly bipartisan. And I am 
very pleased that with the addition of the Manager's Amendment, 
we now have a bill that we can receive bipartisan support. As 
amended, this will be a strong bill, and it will improve 
weather forecasting at NOAA. And I urge my colleagues to 
support it. One of the things that we learned as we received 
expert advice on this legislation is that weather research can 
be strengthened but that we cannot do it at the expense of 
ocean or climate research. These are all pieces of the same 
puzzle. The progress in all of these areas is necessary for 
progress in any single area. This bill would improve weather 
research at NOAA and better integrate that research within the 
forecasting community. And it accomplishes this without harming 
the other important work that NOAA does. I want to especially 
commend environmental--Environment Subcommittee Chairman Mr. 
Stewart, Ranking Member Ms. Bonamici, and the bill's sponsor, 
Mr. Bridenstine, for their cooperative spirit and hard work 
that got us to where we are today. I hope that we can use this 
process as a model for future bipartisan legislative action.
    Next, we have 2431, the National Integrated Drought 
Information System Reauthorization Act of 2013. This vital 
program was originated by my friend and former Chairman, Mr. 
Ralph Hall, in 2006. The program provides critical draft--
drought information to communities all across our nation. Over 
the past three decades, it is estimated that droughts have cost 
our country hundreds of billions of dollars in economic 
impacts. Loss estimates from the 2012 drought alone amount 
upwards of $17 billion. Moreover, the effects of climate change 
are anticipated to exacerbate this problem in many parts of our 
country, including in our home State of Texas. In the light of 
the scope of the economic impacts of drought and the potential 
of the NIDIS programs that lessen these impacts, I am concerned 
that we are cutting the program's authorization level. My 
colleague from Oregon has an amendment to modestly increase the 
authorization levels, and I plan on supporting that amendment 
and urge my others to do as well.
    The next bill being considered is H.R. 2981, the TRANSFER 
Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Mr. Collins and Mr. Kilmer 
that will help accelerate the commercialization of federally 
funded research. Our investment in basic research has led to 
incredible discoveries that improve our lives. But identifying 
and moving those ideas into the marketplace is not an easy 
task. In today's economy, private capital is even harder to 
come by, especially for unproven technologies. This is where 
the TRANSFER Act can make an impact. It can move good ideas and 
technologies further along the path toward commercialization. 
It can help spur the creation of new startups and spinoffs, and 
help those new businesses succeed by providing resources, and 
maybe even more importantly, advice and services. I would like 
to commend my colleagues for their hard work to improve 
technology transfer.
    Now, just recently, the small business community has raised 
some concerns over how the TRANSFER Act is funded. While I 
strongly support the thrust of this bill, I do want to 
emphasize that these concerns will need to be addressed in 
order for this bill to move forward. I am a little concerned 
that we are rushing to mark this bill up without having first 
identified a viable path forward on this issue. This bill was 
crafted by a committee, and it also was referred to this Small 
Business Committee. Kicking this bill over to the Small 
Business Committee without having identified a funding fix 
seems like a recipe for inaction. I hope we can continue to 
work on this issue and ultimately get this bill enacted. But I 
am concerned that rushing the bill to markup today will not 
make this any easier.
    Finally, we consider H.R. 3625, to provide for termination 
liability costs for certain National Aeronautic and Space 
Administration projects. This bill makes necessary changes to 
the way in which NASA accounts for termination costs in their 
flagship programs. When Congress funds spacecraft development, 
we want the funding to go to spacecraft development. We don't 
want sufficient portions of the funding to be aside--set aside 
for just in case money for potential termination costs. 
Unfortunately, this requires a legislative fix because the 
Anti-Deficiency Act requires some reserves. And, frankly, NASA 
is unable to float these reserves anymore due to the tight 
budgetary times we are in. I look forward to a productive 
markup today. And I yield back. Thank you. [The prepared 
statement of Ms. Johnson follows:]
       Prepared Statement of Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson

    Thank you Mr. Chairman. Today we are marking up four relatively 
bipartisan bills, and it is my hope that they will be even more 
bipartisan after today's markup.
    First we have H.R. 2413, the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act of 
2013.
    Weather forecasting and weather research are issues that should 
truly be bipartisan, and I'm very pleased that with the addition of the 
manager's amendment, we now have a bill that will receive bipartisan 
support. As amended, this will be a strong bill, and it will improve 
weather forecasting at NOAA, and I urge my colleagues to support it.
    One of the things that we learned as we received expert advice on 
this legislation is that weather research can be strengthened, but that 
we cannot do it at the expense of ocean or climate research. These are 
all pieces of the same puzzle, and progress in all of these areas is 
necessary for progress in any single area.
    This bill will improve weather research at NOAA and better 
integrate that research with the forecasting community, and it 
accomplishes this without harming the other important work that NOAA 
does.
    I want to especially commend Environment Subcommittee Chairman 
Stewart, Ranking Member Bonamici, and the bill sponsor Mr. Bridenstine 
for their cooperative spirit and hard work that got us to where we are 
today. I hope that we can use this process as a model for future 
bipartisan legislative action.
    Next we have H.R. 2431, the National Integrated Drought Information 
System Reauthorization Act of 2013.
    This vital program was originated by my friend and former Committee 
Chairman Ralph Hall in 2006. The program provides critical drought 
information to communities all across our Nation.
    Over the past three decades it is estimated that droughts have cost 
our country hundreds of billions of dollars in economic impacts. Loss 
estimates from the 2012 drought alone run upwards of 70 billion 
dollars. Moreover, the effects of climate change are anticipated to 
exacerbate this problem in many parts of our country, including in my 
home state of Texas.
    In light of the scope of the economic impacts of drought, and the 
potential of the NIDIS program to lessen these impacts, I am concerned 
that we are cutting the program's authorization level. My colleague 
from Oregon has an amendment to modestly increase the authorization 
levels, and I plan on supporting that amendment, and urge others to do 
so as well.
    The next bill being considered is H.R. 2981, the TRANSFER Act, a 
bipartisan bill introduced by Mr. Collins and Mr. Kilmer that would 
help accelerate the commercialization of federally funded research.
    Our investment in basic research has led to incredible discoveries 
that improve our lives, but identifying and moving those ideas into the 
marketplace is not an easy task. In today's economy private capital is 
even harder to come by, especially for unproven technologies.
    This is where the TRANSFER Act can make an impact. It can move good 
ideas and technologies further along the path toward commercialization. 
It can help spur the creation of new start-ups and spin-offs and help 
those new businesses succeed by providing resources-and maybe even more 
importantly- advice and services.I'd like to commend my colleagues for 
their hard work to improve technology transfer.
    Now, just recently the small business community has raised some 
concerns over how the TRANSFER Act is funded. While I strongly support 
the thrust of this bill, I do want to emphasize that these concerns 
will need to be addressed in order for this bill to move forward. I'm a 
little concerned that we are rushing to mark up this bill without 
having first identified a viable path forward on this issue.
    This bill was crafted by our Committee, but it also was referred to 
the Small Business Committee. Kicking this bill over to the Small 
Business Committee without having identified a funding fix seems like a 
recipe for inaction. I hope we can continue to work on this issue and 
ultimately get this bill enacted, but I'm concerned that rushing the 
bill to markup today will not make this any easier.
    Finally, we will consider H.R. 3625, To provide for termination 
liability costs for certain National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration projects. This bill makes necessary changes to the way 
in which NASA accounts for termination costs in their flagship 
programs.
    When Congress funds spacecraft development, we want the funding to 
go to spacecraft development. We don't want significant portions of the 
funding to be set aside as ``just in case'' money for potential 
termination costs. Unfortunately, this requires a legislative fix 
because the Anti-Deficiency Act requires some reserves, and frankly, 
NASA is unable to float these reserves anymore due to the tight 
budgetary times we are in.
    I look forward to a productive markup today, and I yield back.

    Chairman Smith. Okay. Next bill, pursuant to notice, I now 
call up H.R. 2431, introduced by Mr. Hall, the National 
Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 
2013. And the Clerk will report the bill.
    The Clerk. H.R. 2431 to reauthorize the National Integrated 
Drought Information System in the----
    [H.R. 2431 appears in Appendix I]
    Chairman Smith. Without objection, the bill will be 
considered as read, and the gentleman from Texas, the Chairman 
Emeritus is recognized to explain the bill.
    Mr. Hall. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for 
holding today's markup of H.R. 2431. As others have designated 
their bills, this is a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the 
National Integrated Drought Information System, or NIDIS.
    On October the 2nd, the Committee held a roundtable 
discussion with NIDIS experts in lieu of a subcommittee hearing 
due to the temporary government shutdown. I would like to take 
this opportunity to briefly provide some background about NIDIS 
for those members who were unable to participate. In 1998, 
Congress passed the National Drought Policy Act, establishing 
the National Drought Policy Commission to provide advice and 
recommendations on Federal policies relating to droughts. The 
concept of creating a national drought monitoring and 
information system was proposed by the commission in its 2000 
report.
    In 2004, the Western Governors' Association released its 
report envisioning establishment of NIDIS. The Western 
Governors' Association continues to be one of the program's 
strongest advocates. With the Chairman's permission, I have a 
letter of support for H.R. 2431 from Mr. James Ogsbury, the 
Association's Executive Director, that I would like to submit 
for the record. Without objection, I am sure.
    Chairman Smith. I am sorry, Mr. Hall. Without objection, 
sir.
    [The information appears in Appendix II]
    Mr. Hall. Good. Thank you. I knew almost you were going to 
say that. And I have a letter of support from Todd Sando, 
President of the Association of Western State Engineers, and a 
resolution of support from the Western States Water Counsel. 
With the Chairman's permission, I would like to submit these 
letter for the record.
    Chairman Smith. Without----
    Mr. Hall. Did I hear objection?
    Chairman Smith. Without objection, so ordered.
    [The information appears in Appendix II]
    Mr. Hall. All right, sir. I was pleased to work with the 
Western Governors' Association, along with former Congressman 
and now with Senator Mark Udall to introduce a NIDIS Act of 
2006, which Congress passed and became public law. Rather than 
creating a new government bureaucracy, NIDIS represented a 
collaborative framework between Federal states and academic 
partners. NIDIS is administered within the Office of Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Research at NOAA.
    The NIDIS plan included developing U.S. drought portal 
www.drought.gov. This website has become a valuable resource 
for decision makers at the federal, state and local level. The 
website provides current data from climate observations, early 
warnings about emerging and potential droughts, and support 
services for managing droughts.
    One of the features of the drought portal is the U.S. 
drought monitor, a map that blends drought measurements with 
expert's best judgments. This map is updated every week. The 
monitor is produced by a rotating group of authors from the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, NOAA and the National Drought 
Mitigation Center. I have a slide to be displayed on the 
committee screen of the most recent drought monitor map dated 
November 26. This is a map that local officials and 
stakeholders use for the most up to date information on drought 
conditions. Supporting data indicate that 56 percent of the 
U.S. is currently experiencing abnormally dry to exceptionally 
dry conditions. Through NIDIS, NOAA also is building a network 
of early warning systems, and is continuing to work with local 
research managers. NIDIS is an example of a program that is 
working effectively, and it has broad support.
    The NIDIS authorization expired last year. And this 
bipartisan bill, H.R. 2431, reauthorizes the program from 2014 
through 2018 in the amount of 13.5 million per year, reflecting 
current program costs and funding levels. This bill encourages 
further development of regional early warning systems and 
research, monitoring and forecasting needs. It builds upon 
existing partnerships and designates one or more cooperative 
institutions to assist with NIDIS, and it calls for a thorough 
analysis of NIDIS.
    Mr. Chairman, reauthorizing NIDIS will strengthen this 
important program and help ensure its continued success. I urge 
the Committee's support, and I yield back, sir.
    Chairman Smith. Thank you, Mr. Hall. Is there any further 
discussion of the bill? And if not, we will go to the two 
amendments we have listed in our roster.
    Does the gentleman from California, Mr. Swalwell, seek 
recognition?
    Mr. Swalwell. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I do have an amendment at 
the desk.
    Chairman Smith. The Clerk will report the amendment.
    The Clerk. Amendment to H.R. 2431, offered by Mr. Swalwell 
of California, and----
    [The amendment of Mr. Swalwell and Ms. Wilson appears in 
Appendix I]
    Mr. Swalwell. And, Mr. Chair, I ask for unanimous consent 
that the reading of the amendment be dispersed with.
    Chairman Smith. Without objection, the amendment will be 
considered as read. And before I recognize the gentleman from 
California, let me say that I do support his amendment, and he 
is recognized to explain it.
    Mr. Swalwell. Mr. Chairman, my amendment is a simple one, 
intended to ensure that the most accurate, up to date science 
is being used to help keep us safe and plan for natural 
disasters like drought. This amendment simply includes the 
language that was passed out of the Senate Committee on 
Commerce, Science and Transportation.
    Being from California, I understand the damage prolonged 
drought can do to our local agriculture and economies. Drought 
impacts not only agricultural communities and, in my 
Congressional district, we have 55 wineries, but also the 
larger surrounding economies. We must make sure we are using 
our resources wisely in working with full information. My 
amendment does just that by specifying that ongoing research 
related to drought should include the role of extreme weather 
events and climate variability in drought.
    Just last month, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 
climate scientists and scientists from 16 other organizations 
announced that they have found that changes in precipitation 
patterns are clearly related to human activities. I would like 
to submit for the record the scientific article identifying 
external influences on global precipitation which appeared in 
the journal article proceedings of the National Academy of 
Sciences. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    And finally, the language I am proposing did pass out of 
the Senate Committee by voice vote. And if that Committee, 
which has both members, Senator Boxer and Senator Cruz, can 
voice vote and agree on that language, I am very optimistic 
about the chances of that--this amendment passing through our 
Committee. So I want to thank the Chair again for accepting 
this amendment. And I would like to thank my colleague from 
Florida, Ms. Wilson, for joining me as a co-sponsor, and yield 
back the balance of my time.
    Chairman Smith. Thank you, Mr. Swalwell. Is there any 
further discussion on the amendment? If not, all in favor say 
aye. Opposed, nay. And through the Chair, the ayes have it, and 
the amendment is agreed to. We will now go to the next 
amendment, and the gentlewoman from Oregon is recognized for 
her amendment.
    Ms. Bonamici. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment 
at the desk.
    Chairman Smith. The clerk will report the amendment.
    The Clerk. Amendment to H.R. 2431, offered by Ms.----
    [The amendment of Ms. Bonamici appears in Appendix I]
    Chairman Smith. Without objection, the amendment will be 
considered as read, and the gentlewoman from Oregon is 
recognized to explain her amendment.
    Ms. Bonamici. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you to Mr. 
Hall for your effort to reauthorize the National Integrated 
Drought Information System. This is an important program, and 
the reauthorization represents an opportunity for us to do 
something in this Committee that will tangibly benefit our 
constituents.
    The amendment I am offering today is a straightforward 
attempt to increase slightly the funding authorized for NIDIS 
under the bill. This amendment would raise the funding level by 
just $1 million per year from $13.5 to $14.5 for the fiscal 
years authorized under the bill. Currently, the Senate has 
moved its version of legislation to reauthorize NIDIS through 
Committee. And their bill authorizes $14.5 million. Bringing 
the funding level in our bill in line with that will speed 
passage of a final bill.
    The initial legislation to establish NIDIS was authorized 
by our former Chairman, Mr. Hall. It authorized $11 million for 
Fiscal Year 2007, with a prescribed increase of $1 million in 
the authorization for each following year. By the final year in 
2012, the program was reauthorized--was authorized at $16 
million. Realizing of course that we find ourselves in a 
difficult budget climate presently, I see no reason why we 
hinder a program that is functioning well and helping 
constituents by reducing the authorized funding level to below 
Fiscal Year 2010 levels.
    Severe drought conditions can cause farmers in our country 
to lose billions of dollars. In many cases, the Federal 
Government bears a large share of that financial burden through 
crop insurance expenditures and disaster declarations. If we 
don't adequately fund a program that helps farmers prepare for 
and mitigate the effects of severe drought, we are simply 
opening up the government for deeper expenditures in the long 
term on the backend.
    One million dollars today pales in comparison to the 
billions that the government and small farmers will pay to 
recover from damage done by drought. I urge passage of this 
commonsense amendment, which we hope will speed passage of the 
final bill. And I yield back the balance of my time.
    Chairman Smith. Thank you, Ms. Bonamici. And I will 
recognize myself in opposition to the amendment. Now, this 
amendment would increase the authorization levels of the 
legislation from $13.5 million to $14.5 million for each Fiscal 
Year from 2014 to 2018. I oppose the amendment which raises the 
authorization amount far above what the Administration itself 
has requested. Now, I yield the balance of my time to the 
Chairman of the Environment Subcommittee, Mr. Stewart.
    Mr. Stewart. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for yielding. And, 
unfortunately, I must also oppose this amendment. And when I 
say unfortunately, it is because I have made my respect for the 
Ranking Member no secret, but there would be no surprise that 
we come from slightly different views when it comes to what is 
considered adequate levels of funding.
    The authorization level in Mr. Hall's bill reflects an 
adequate funding level that has enabled NIDIS program to work 
effectively and efficiently. And the bottom line I think is 
simply this, the authorization is nearly identical to the 
President's 2014 request for this program, which is $13.6 
million. This authorization is almost at the highest level at 
which the administration has actually spent on NIDIS. I think 
that we recognize all of us in this room that we live in a new 
fiscal reality, and I believe this authorization should reflect 
that reality. And that is the reason, Mr. Chairman, why I would 
oppose this amendment.
    Chairman Smith. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Stewart. Is there any 
further discussion on the amendment? And the gentlewoman from 
Texas, Ms. Johnson, is recognized.
    Ms. Johnson. I would strike the last word, Mr. Chairman, I 
would like to speak on behalf of the amendment as I mentioned 
in the opening statement, as well just a couple more examples.
    If you look at the top five most expensive disasters in the 
U.S. since 1980, three of those are due to drought. And these 
staggering economic costs directly and indirectly affect the 
government. For instance, in the two-year period from 2011 and 
2012, the Federal Government expended $28 billion in crop 
insurance as a direct result of drought. The NIDIS program is 
intended to help alleviate some of the economic impacts of 
drought.
    Notably, one of the program goals is to improve drought 
early warning. Better early warning and impeding drought would 
allow states, localities and farmers to better plan their 
activities so that the economic costs related to droughts could 
be reduced or mitigated. Every witness who has ever testified 
or spoken to our Committee about this program has highlighted 
the need to improve this early warning capacity.
    The Administration has recognized the value of this, and 
the Fiscal Year 2014 budget request included additional monies 
for this purpose. This isn't a goal that can be accomplished 
for free. It will take a sustained investment of additional 
monies to achieve the results we need. Unfortunately, the 
authorization numbers in the majority bill will preclude this 
work from occurring as they lock they agency into a funding cap 
that is below Fiscal Year 2014 budget requests.
    Moreover, they cap the agency's funding at this level for 
the next five years, thus precluding any chance that the 
program could do this important work during this timeframe. Ms. 
Bonamici's amendment would raise the funding levels by $1 
million per year for the life of the authorization. I think 
this is a reasonable increase to help accomplish the goal that 
everyone seems to endorse.
    Moreover, this aligns our bill with the bipartisan senate 
companion bill, which has already been reported out of 
Committee. I would like to take an additional moment to make a 
brief comment about the nature of these budget numbers. 
Normally, in a long term authorization of this sort, once 
expert witnesses or stakeholders have identified their 
important goals to be achieved by the program, we would ask the 
agency how much money would be required to meet these goals. In 
this case, we have not. And our haste to markup this bill. We 
have not taken the time to get the information from the agency. 
The only witness I can recall who gave specific testimony on 
authorization levels advised us that we should start the 
authorization at $16 million and ramp up funding to $24 million 
after five years.
    So I think the gentlelady's amendment is pretty reasonable. 
It will certainly align more closely with what the Senate is 
doing, which might make enactment of this bill more likely. 
That is, after all, what we are supposed to be doing here. And 
when the Federal Government is spending tens of billions of 
dollars per year to mitigate the effects of drought, I think it 
makes sense to expend a couple of million dollars to try and 
reduce those massive costs to our taxpayers and our 
communities.
    It is pretty clear that in this instance, our ounce of 
prevention will get us a proud--a pound of cure. I support this 
amendment and yield back.
    Chairman Smith. Okay. Thank you, Ms. Johnson. Is there any 
further discussion on the Bonamici amendment? If not, all in 
favor say aye. Those opposed, say nay. In the opinion of the 
Chair, the nays have it, and the amendment is not agreed to. If 
there are no further amendments, then the next item of business 
is reporting the bill, H.R. 2431, a reporting quorum being 
present, the question is on the bill, H.R. 2431, as amended, 
those in favor say aye. Opposed, nay. The ayes have it. And the 
bill, as amended, is ordered reported favorably. Without 
objection, the Motion to Reconsider is laid upon the table, and 
I move that the bill, H.R. 2431, as amended, be favorably 
reported to the House and the staff be authorized to make any 
necessary technical and conforming changes. Without objection, 
so ordered.
                               Appendix I

                              ----------                              


     H.R. 2431, THE NATIONAL INTEGRATED DROUGHT INFORMATION SYSTEM 
                      REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2013

                Section-by-Section Analysis, Amendments

                            Amendment Roster





<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>

                     Section-by-Section Analysis of

     H.R. 2431, THE NATIONAL INTEGRATED DROUGHT INFORMATION SYSTEM 
                      REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2013

    Purpose: To reauthorize the National Integrated Drought Information 
System.

Section 1.

    Short Title. This section establishes the short title of the bill 
as the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization 
Act of 2013.

Section 2. NIDIS Program Amendments.

    Section 2 modifies the purpose of the NIDIS program ``to better 
inform and provide for more timely decision making to reduce drought 
related impacts and costs.''
    Section 2 modifies existing language by reorganizing in order to 
distinguish between the function of the NIDIS program in general and 
the early warning system specifically. The functions are largely the 
same as those in existing law, reorganized to reflect the distinction. 
The only additional function added is to allow NIDIS to ``continue 
ongoing research activities related to drought.'' Section 2 
reestablishes NIDIS system functions including building upon 
forecasting and assessment partnerships and the designation of one or 
more cooperative institutes to assist with NIDIS functions.
    Section 2 also adds a new subsection (e) which requires the 
Undersecretary of Commerce to provide the Committee with a report 18 
months after enactment. This report should (i) include an analysis of 
the implementation of NIDIS, including how the information, forecasts, 
and assessments are utilized in drought planning policy and response 
activities; (ii) describe specific plans, including future milestones, 
for continued development of such programs; and (iii) identify 
research, monitoring, and forecasting needs to enhance the predictive 
capability of drought early warnings, the length and severity of 
droughts, and the contribution of weather events to reducing or ending 
drought conditions. In developing this report, the Undersecretary is 
also required to consult with relevant Federal, regional, State, 
tribal, and local government agencies, research institutions, and the 
private sector.

Section 3. Authorization of Appropriations.

    Section 3 amends Section 4 of the 2006 Act to authorize 
appropriations for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2018 in the amount 
of $13.5 per year.
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                              Appendix II

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                         Letters for the Record





           Letters submitted by Committee Chairman Emeritus,
                             Ralph M. Hall
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