5:58 PM EDT

Barbara Comstock, R-VA 10th

Mrs. COMSTOCK. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of H.R. 1119, the Research and Development Efficiency Act, which I introduced with the chairman and ranking member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, as well as the ranking member of the Research and Technology Subcommittee earlier this year.

H.R. 1119 requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish a working group under the National Science and Technology Council to review Federal regulations that affect research and research universities.

The working group is tasked with making recommendations on how to harmonize, streamline, and eliminate duplicative Federal regulations and reporting requirements and make recommendations on how to minimize the regulatory burden on research institutions.

[Time: 18:00]

Mr. Speaker, there is a long history to support the need for this legislation. In 2012, the National Academies issued a report that included a key recommendation to ``reduce or eliminate regulations that increase administrative costs, impede research productivity, and deflect creative energy without substantially improving the research environment.''

Last year, the National Science Board referenced the results of two Federal Demonstration Partnership surveys on faculty workload--one in 2005 and one in 2012--that, on average, researchers spend 42 percent of their time on meeting administrative requirements. This drain on researchers' time and resources to answer Federal regulatory and reporting requirements leaves less time for researchers to spend on actual scientific work.

To be clear, H.R. 1119 does not eliminate reporting requirements, because there is a need for such information for the purposes of oversight and transparency. Instead, the bill would initiate the process that should ultimately help researchers and research universities by reducing redundant regulations. This is accomplished by promoting efficiencies and getting the most out of our research investments.

The National Academies is currently conducting a study of Federal regulations and reporting requirements, paying particular attention to those directed at research universities. H.R. 1119 would ensure that more of our Federal research dollars are spent on research and not on regulatory requirements. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill.

5:58 PM EDT

Barbara Comstock, R-VA 10th

Mrs. COMSTOCK. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of H.R. 1119, the Research and Development Efficiency Act, which I introduced with the chairman and ranking member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, as well as the ranking member of the Research and Technology Subcommittee earlier this year.

H.R. 1119 requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish a working group under the National Science and Technology Council to review Federal regulations that affect research and research universities.

The working group is tasked with making recommendations on how to harmonize, streamline, and eliminate duplicative Federal regulations and reporting requirements and make recommendations on how to minimize the regulatory burden on research institutions.

[Time: 18:00]

Mr. Speaker, there is a long history to support the need for this legislation. In 2012, the National Academies issued a report that included a key recommendation to ``reduce or eliminate regulations that increase administrative costs, impede research productivity, and deflect creative energy without substantially improving the research environment.''

Last year, the National Science Board referenced the results of two Federal Demonstration Partnership surveys on faculty workload--one in 2005 and one in 2012--that, on average, researchers spend 42 percent of their time on meeting administrative requirements. This drain on researchers' time and resources to answer Federal regulatory and reporting requirements leaves less time for researchers to spend on actual scientific work.

To be clear, H.R. 1119 does not eliminate reporting requirements, because there is a need for such information for the purposes of oversight and transparency. Instead, the bill would initiate the process that should ultimately help researchers and research universities by reducing redundant regulations. This is accomplished by promoting efficiencies and getting the most out of our research investments.

The National Academies is currently conducting a study of Federal regulations and reporting requirements, paying particular attention to those directed at research universities. H.R. 1119 would ensure that more of our Federal research dollars are spent on research and not on regulatory requirements. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill.

6:01 PM EDT

Daniel Lipinski, D-IL 3rd

Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in support of H.R. 1119, the Research and Development Efficiency Act.

I am pleased to be a cosponsor of this bill, and I want to thank Congresswoman Comstock and Ranking Member Johnson for their leadership in introducing the bill.

Mr. Speaker, we all agree that administrative requirements serve an important purpose. They ensure transparency, the protection of human and animal subjects, and the wise use of Federal resources. But sometimes they [Page: H3366]

go too far, so we need to find a much better balance than we currently have.

The statistic often cited is that federally funded researchers spend an average of 42 percent of their time on administrative tasks. That is time and money spent not doing science. It is not an efficient use of some of our Nation's greatest scientific brain power, nor is it an efficient use of Federal research funds, especially as Federal spending for R&D continues to decline as a share of the overall budget.

Back in the 112th Congress, the Research Subcommittee, which I served on as ranking member and which was led by then-Chairman Mo Brooks, held an important hearing on this matter to help get the ball rolling, which eventually led to this bill.

H.R. 1119 requires the Office of Science and Technology Policy to convene an interagency working group to review the requirements governing the conduct of federally funded R&D at our Nation's research institutions. The working group is further charged with making recommendations on how to best streamline and harmonize such requirements across the government in order to minimize the administrative burden on universities while maintaining full accountability for Federal funds.

This administration has long recognized the problems that this bill addresses. An interagency working group will not be starting from scratch. The Office of Management and Budget took some small steps in the right direction in their recent rewrite of the Federal regulations governing research grants. Agencies have also taken steps to harmonize the grant proposal process and are exploring additional ways to reduce the paperwork burden associated with grant proposals.

I applaud these efforts. Last Congress, I helped further them by writing a letter to OMB, urging them to make some of the reforms they had agreed to. However, there is still room to go. The National Academies have begun a detailed review of administrative burdens on federally funded research. I hope that this review will yield specific recommendations for the agencies on how to proceed. While it may be preferable to wait for this report to be published before the interagency committee begins

its own work, the Academies' review does not preclude the need for an interagency group.

I understand that there may be bureaucratic hurdles to overcome. This will take some time. However, we cannot afford to delay action any longer. The vitality of our Nation's research universities and of our overall competitiveness will suffer if we do not reduce the administrative workload on our Nation's scientific talent. H.R. 1119 is an important step in that direction.

Once again, I want to thank Chairwoman Comstock and Ranking Member Johnson of the Research and Technology Subcommittee for introducing this legislation, and I thank Chairman Smith for bringing it to the floor. I urge my colleagues to support it.

Again, I want to thank Chairwoman COMSTOCK, Chairman Smith, and Ranking Member Johnson for moving this bill.

I used to be a university researcher. I know of the heavy burdens in terms of administrative tasks that need to be done. I would say some of these are absolutely necessary, but we now know that we can reduce the burden without reducing the protections that they provide. I am very happy to support this bill, and I urge my colleagues to support it.

I yield back the balance of my time.