Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 296 (rs) To provide for continuation of the Federal research investment in a fiscally sustainable way, and for other purposes. [Reported in Senate] ...

S. 296 (rs) To provide for continuation of the Federal research investment in a fiscally sustainable way, and for other purposes. [Reported in Senate] ...


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106th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 296


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             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,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

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

SEC. 2. GENERAL FINDINGS REGARDING FEDERAL INVESTMENT IN RESEARCH.

    (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 
        capital.
            (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.

SEC. 3. SPECIAL FINDINGS REGARDING HEALTH-RELATED RESEARCH.

    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 
        population.
            (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.

SEC. 4. ADDITIONAL FINDINGS REGARDING THE LINK BETWEEN THE RESEARCH 
              PROCESS AND USEFUL TECHNOLOGY.

    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.

SEC. 5. MAINTENANCE OF FEDERAL RESEARCH EFFORT; GUIDING PRINCIPLES.

    (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 
principles:
            (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 
        milestones.
            (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.

SEC. 6. POLICY STATEMENT.

    (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.

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