| 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] ...
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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