Statement of the Honorable John H. Gibbons
Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
Subcommittee on Science
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
February 3, 1994
DETAILED COMMENTS ON H.R. 3476
Section 2. Policy and Priorities
These amendments correspond with the Administration's pledg e to cooperatefully with the private sector and our stated goal of world leadership inscience, engineering, and mathematics.
Section 3. Office of Science and Technology Policy
(a) The Administration objects to this amendment, which rais es the position ofthe Director, OSTP, from Executive Level II to Executive Level I. By creatingthe National Science and Technology Council, the Administration has effectivelyenhanced the stature of science and technology considerations in thepolicyma king process. Raising the Executive Level of the OSTP Director is notessential to the functions of the NSTC.
(b) This restatement of OSTP's functions generally corresponds with theAdministration's intentions. The Administration has committed t o greatercooperation with the States.
We propose the following changes:
Section 204(a)(2): "support oversee the development . . . ."
Section 204(b)(1): "advise and make policy recommendations to the Presidentand various compo nents of the Executive Office of the President that formulatenational policy, on scientific and technological considerations involved inareas of science and technology issues of national concern, including, but notlimited to, the economy, national secu rity, health, foreign relations andinternational S&T cooperation, the environment, and the technologicalrecovery and use of resources"
Section 204(c): "Executive departments and agencies shall, to the extentpracticable, provide, upon . . . ."
(c) The Administration believes it may be possible to modify the biennialS&T Outlook Report to incorporate the essential elements of the reportsdescribed in Section 6 of the bill.
The Administration strongly objects to certain provisions in the amendmentthat creates new Section 205. Specifically:
Section 205(b): The requirement that the Director of OSTP concur with the OMBDirector's budget decisions prior to agency "passbacks" constitutesunacceptable interference wi th the Executive budget function.
Section 205(c): The Administration finds this language unnecessary since itdescribes information historically provided in the President's budgetrequest.
We request modification of language in Section 205(a)(1): "at thebeginning
. . . develop and issue, as necessary, guidance to . . . ."
(e) The Administration supports the amendments to Section 207 of OSTP'senabling legislation that affect the ability of the Director to makeappoint ments and to accept voluntary services.
We suggest the following modification to new Section 207(b)(1): "appoint andfix the pay of such officers . . . governing appointments and compensation inthe Federal competitive service, at rates not to e xceed the rate of pay forlevel IV VI of the Executive Schedule Senior Executive Service as providedpursuant to section 5315 5382 of title 5, . . . ."
Section 4. President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology
The Administrati on objects in principle to a prescriptive legislative mandatefor this Presidential Advisory Committee. Compromise language that would helpensure the Committee's existence and ensure flexibility for the President couldbe considered. We suggest:
Effective [date], there is established in the Executive Office of thePresident the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.
(b) Report to Congress on composition and functions
By [dat e], the President shall submit to the Congress a report that outlinesthe composition and functions of the President's Committee of Advisors onScience and Technology."
The Administration specifically objects to:
membership by the Directo r of OSTP; the President has named his Assistant forScience and Technology to this position;
the requirement that a member of the National Science Board receive a dualappointment to the PCAST; ex officio membership could be considered; and
the requirement that all funding for PCAST derive from OSTP's appropriation.To the extent PCAST supports NSTC, the member agencies should fund itsactivities.
Section 5. National Science and Technology Council
The Administration supports a l egislative mandate for this interagency councilbut proposes alternative language:
"There is established a National Science and Technology Council.
By [date] the President shall submit to the Congress a report that outlinesthe composition and functions of the National Science and Technology Council.
(a) The Council will assume the responsibilities of the Federal CoordinatingCouncil for Science, Engineering, and Technology, the National Space Council,and the National Critical Ma terials Council.
(b) Executive departments and agencies shall, to the extent practicable, makeresources, including, but not limited to, personnel, office support, andprinting, available to the Council;
(c) The Council is authorized to establis h such committees and working groupsas it may require."
The Administration specifically objects to:
the role specified for the Director, OSTP; the President has assigned hisAssistant for Science and Technology these responsibilities;
the direction in Section 405(a)(1) to consult with CEA -- CEA and otherrelevant agencies, including OMB, are members of NSTC and the consultationrequirement is unnecessary;
the lack of a qualifier, such as "help," before the word "determine" in section 405(a)(2); and
the absence of language authorizing agencies to provide, to the extentpracticable, administrative and financial support for NSTC activities.
Section 6. National Sciences and Technologies Assessment Panel
The Ad ministration believes the NSTC and the PCAST may be able to fulfill therequirements described in this section of the bill. We would like to continueour discussions with the subcommittee on this topic.
Section 7. Science and Technology Policy In stitute
The Administration supports changes in the name, operating committee, andfunctions of the Institute. We object to the change in contracting officer,preferring to leave that responsibility with NSF.