[CRS Issue Brief for Congress]

94009: Research and Development: Priority Setting and Consolidation in Science Budgeting

Updated November 13, 1996

Genevieve J. Knezo
Science Policy Research Division

CONTENTS

SUMMARY

MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

Budget-Related R&D Priority-Setting Issues
Pressures on the Budget and Recent Budget Action
Large Research Projects
Congressional Earmarking of Specific R&D Projects
Current Priority-Setting Activities
Recommendations to Coordinate R&D Priority- Setting: Congress
Priorities for Critical Technologies
Cross-Cutting National Research Initiatives
National Performance Review (NPR) and Government Performance and Results Act of 1993
National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)
Department of Science and Technology/Omnibus Civilian Science R&D Bill


SUMMARY

The 104th Congress's R&D priorities were motivated by deficit reduction and by goals of using deregulation and tax incentives to foster market-driven investment and innovation and to focus on basic research and defense R&D as proper governmental functions. H.Con.Res. 178, the enacted FY1997 Budget Resolution, reduced non-defense R&D 9% by 1997, and by 23% in real dollar terms by 2002, according to AAAS. In the original House plan, Energy and Commerce would have been eliminated. In the final version, basic research was cut less than in the Administration's plan. R&D, funded from the discretionary budget, was projected to decline from 37% of total outlays in FY1994 to 31% in FY1998.

The Administration's FY1997 R&D budget request at $72.7 billion was 2% more than the estimated FY1996 level, but about 10% less than FY1990 R&D outlays expressed in real dollar terms. The Administration links federal R&D investment to economic growth, seeking partnerships between government and business in research and innovation. For FY1997 the President's budget sought to increase funding for applied research more than for basic research and emphasized civilian research, NIH, NSF, environmental research and Mission to Plant Earth. Using revised budget figures submitted by the President in July, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) estimated that by 2002 nondefense R&D would be reduced by 19%.

In final FY1997 appropriations action, defense R&D was increased 5.2% over FY1996 and civilian R&D by 2.7%, up 4.1% over the budget resolution projection, with increases made in every R&D agency except NASA and Interior. The total increase, at $2.9 billion, is 4% over FY1996, following 3 years of level funding. The FY1996 budget resolution (H.Con.Res. 67) had proposed reductions over the next 7 years in energy, space, agriculture, and health, and would eliminate the Commerce Dept.; it proposed to reduce civilian R&D budgets by 33% in constant dollars by FY2002 (using inflation factors from summer 1995) and would alter radically previous R&D policies. Final FY1996 R&D appropriations levels were higher, funding civilian R&D 4% below the recession-adjusted FY1995 level and below the President's request. Defense R&D was higher than in FY1995 and in the President's request.

The House Science Committee held hearings in July on 6-year R&D budget projections, postponed from June because Administration witnesses had declined to testify. The House enacted the FY1997 Omnibus Civilian Science R&D bill on May 30. It replaced separate authorization bills for committees under jurisdiction of the Science Committee, excluding Department of Energy science programs. It authorized funding at about $2 billion less than the President requested and reduced funding for NIST, Mission to Planet Earth, and some NOAA and EPA programs. The Senate did not act on the bill.

The creation of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) elevated S&T policy to cabinet level. It is charged with coordinating R&D budgets between the OMB and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. NSTC actions and provisions of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), P.L. 103-62, require R&D budgets to be linked to specific goals and to use performance measures.


MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

FY1997 appropriations action increased total federal R&D 4.1% above the FY1996 level, a $2.9 billion increase after 3 years of level funding. Defense R&D was increased 5.2% over FY1996 and civilian R&D was increased 2.7%, up 4.1% over the budget resolution projection, with increases made in every R&D agency except NASA and Interior. FY1997 civilian R&D is 3.6% below FY1994 in inflation-adjusted dollars.


BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS

The government has always supported core fields of science, but the focus in federal R&D budgets has alternated in response to policy shifts and Presidential prerogatives. During the 1970s interest focused on space R&D, growth in energy and health research and cutbacks in defense R&D. During the Reagan Administration, support for defense R&D and for basic research became prominent; energy research funding declined. In FY1978, non-federal sources, largely industry, started to eclipse the federal government as a source of R&D funding. According to the 1995 Economic Report of the President, and the Council of Economic Advisors' (CEA) October 1995 report, Supporting R&D to Promote Economic Growth: The Federal Government's Role, the estimated social rate of return to R&D averages 50%, which, the CEA says, is significantly higher than returns on other investments. President Clinton seeks to reduce defense and increase civilian research, technology investment and development, basic research, computer networking, and commercialization of R&D (see CRS Report 93-96 SPR and CRS Report 93-357 SPR). The 104th Congress sought to alter these programs because of budgetary pressures and philosophy.

Budget-Related R&D Priority-Setting Issues

Pressures on the Budget and Recent Budget Action

Congress is limiting increases in discretionary spending, projected to decline from 37% of total outlays in FY1994 to about 27% in FY2002. As the discretionary portion of the budget declines and spending caps are lowered, R&D programs increasingly will compete with funding for public infrastructure, housing, discretionary social services programs, and transportation. While federal R&D funding has increased historically in constant dollars, it has decreased from about 11% of total federal outlays in 1966, during the buildup for the space program, to about 5% today, and from about 16% of discretionary outlays in 1966 to about 13% today. The Views and Estimates of the Democratic Members of the Committee on Science, FY1996 Budget for Civilian R&D, reports that "Federal R&D support relative to the overall size of our economy as measured by GDP has dropped by about 60% over the last 30 years. . . ." Non-federal R&D funding has increased during this period.

The Clinton Administration's early attempt to reduce defense R&D and increase civilian technology-oriented funding would have significantly altered R&D priorities. For instance, while defense R&D spending declined in constant dollars by 6.6% since FY1992, civilian R&D spending was projected to increase 8.2% to FY1995. The Democratic majority in the 103rd Congress reoriented programs to focus more on projects which generate economic benefits or contribute to "strategic" programs -- to solve a problem or contribute to industrial capability. This was reflected in the large increases for technology transfer and development at NIST and for the clean car technology and high-performance computing programs. Both the NSF and the NIH started to emphasize "strategic" research, i.e., applications-oriented research activities, reducing the number of new "undirected" research projects. The Congress attached research targeting and performance requirements to some agencies' R&D appropriations.

For FY1996, the Administration sought a larger increase in R&D at DOE than at NASA, and increased funding for interagency R&D initiatives. Other priorities were similar to FY1995, when cuts were made in defense and energy research (reduction in the Superconducting Super Collider and nuclear weapons research), and funding was increased in the applied technology programs in NIST, in NSF (for basic research, facilities and instrumentation), and in NIH. The President's 7-year balanced budget proposed on December 6, 1995, would increase R&D spending above congressional levels and restore funds for the Advanced Technology and Technology Reinvestment programs in the Commerce Department, and increase funds for environmental R&D. The President proposed an FY1997 R&D budget totaling $72.7 billion, a decrease of about 1.5% in constant dollar terms from FY1996. Using the President's Mid-Session Review of the FY1997 Budget, issued on July 16, adjusted for the latest economic data, AAAS estimates that nondefense R&D would be reduced 19% in real dollar terms by 2002. For FY1997, the President seeks increased funding for applied research, including the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Program, environmental R&D, energy efficiency and pollution prevention, the new generation of vehicles partnership, and Mission to Plant Earth. The Administration also seeks increases for NSF and NIH. See Table 1.

Congressional scrutiny of R&D increased in the first session of the 104th Congress in response to budget pressures and pressures to de-emphasize the government's role in civilian applications-oriented R&D and to focus more attention on basic research. (See CRS Issue Brief 96014, R&D Funding: Fiscal Year 1997, and CRS Issue Brief 92039, The Research and Experimentation Tax Credit.) The chairman of the House Science Committee, reasoned ". . .that basic research, not industrial R&D, `is the mission of government when we talk about science.'" (Robert Walker: The Speaker's Right Hand on Science. Science.` August 11, 1995, p. 749.) Deficit reduction has affected federally funded R&D, which demonstrated no real growth for the years FY1992 to FY1994, an estimated 1% real growth between FY1994 and FY1995, and a real dollar reduction approaching 2% between FY1995 and FY1996. The 104th Congress reduced federal regulations and programs of civilian technology development, which many Republicans traditionally have opposed on the grounds that the private sector, not the government, should make market-related choices and share the risks and rewards. Both the House (H.R. 1158, H.Rept. 104-70) and Senate (S. 617, S.Rept. 104-17) passed civilian rescission bills for FY1995, (H.Rept. 104-124) which proposed various R&D cuts. The President vetoed the bill on June 7, 1995. A new rescission package (H.R. 1944), which proposed an additional $43 million in R&D cuts, was signed by the President July 27, 1995 (P.L. 104-19) and joins a previous rescission package, P.L. 104-6. These cut R&D about $2 billion for FY1994 and FY1995.

For FY1996, the Science Committee reported that it intended "to authorize every agency under its jurisdiction at less than FY1995 levels." It would apply six criteria when prioritizing R&D funding: support for long-term R&D, for revolutionary new ideas, and for agency relevant research; cutting support for R&D beyond demonstration of technical feasibility and for research expected to obtain private sector funding. Government laboratory research should be only in areas where laboratories have technical expertise and other R&D needs should be contracted out. (Views and Estimates. Committee on Science. [1995].)

The Congressional Budget Resolution for FY1996, H.Con.Res. 67, enacted June 29, 1995, did not specify the exact cuts recommended for R&D. (See H.Rept. 104-159.) However, it referred to many of the assumptions made in the House and Senate versions. If all cuts were enacted, AAAS figured that civilian R&D would be cut, in constant dollars, to about 66% of its 1995 level by FY2002. Basic research funding would be sustained (although cut in real dollars), but R&D in budget function 250 would be reduced by about 29% in constant dollars to 2002. The largest cuts would come in the out years. FY1996 appropriations action reduced R&D less than projected in the budget resolution. The Congress increased defense R&D in DOD (above FY1995 and above the request) and DOE by about 4.4% (for nuclear weapons and ballistic missile defense). NIH was the only civilian R&D agency which saw an increase over FY1995. Decreases occurred in R&D in civilian energy and transportation. The Departments of Commerce and Energy were not eliminated, and the reductions in the Department of Commerce (ATP and NOAA R&D) were not as large as originally expected. The President signed eight appropriations bills which fund R&D for FY1996 and an omnibus appropriations bill, which included R&D funding for NASA, NSF, EPA, Department of Commerce, and parts of DHHS (excluding NIH), (P.L. 104-134), April 16, 1996. Final FY1996 appropriations action funded civilian R&D 4% below the recession-adjusted FY1995 level and below the President's request.

The enacted Budget Resolution for FY1997, H.Con.Res. 178, June 1996, recommended reducing nondefense R&D 6% by 1997, and by 23% in real dollar terms by 2002, using AAAS calculations. Non-defense R&D funding was slated at 9% less than in the President's budget. In the original House version, the Departments of Energy and Commerce would be eliminated. The final resolution cut basic research less than in the Administration's plan. The resolution recommended R&D funding below the President's request for NASA, DOE, USDA, Commerce, Transportation, EPA and other agencies. Most of the R&D recommended cuts were in applied research and technology which the private sector might otherwise support. The resolution proposed to privatize some federally supported R&D and retain selected areas of basic research. In budget function 250, space shuttle operations would be contracted out; in budget function 270, energy supply R&D, fossil energy, conservation and other energy programs would be reduced substantially; in function 300, NOAA would be refocused on core missions and the R&D functions of the land management agencies would be reduced (U.S. Geological Survey, National Biological Services, Bureau of Mines); in function 350, agricultural research and extension and infrastructure would be cut. In function 370, NIST science and technological activities would be increased, but ATP programs eliminated. The FY1997 Omnibus Civilian Science bill (H.R. 3322), reported by the House Science Committee and enacted by the House on May 30, authorizes FY1997 R&D funding at about $2 billion less than the Clinton request. Reductions were made in NIST's Advanced Technology and MEP programs, NASA's Mission to Planet Earth and some NOAA and EPA programs.

The Appropriations committees were not obliged to accept the specific cuts recommended in the budget resolution. The House enacted all FY1997 appropriations bills, raising funding 3.7% above the FY1996 level. Increases were primarily for DOD and NIH, with the following major agencies' R&D reduced below FY1996: NASA, DOE, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, Commerce, and Education. Final action was completed separately on FY1997 R&D-related appropriations bills and in an Omnibus Act, P.L. 104-280. See Table 1. For FY1997, nondefense R&D was funded 4.1% higher than projected in the budget resolution, according to AAAS. Funding was higher than projected for NIH, Agriculture, NSF, Interior, EPA, and Commerce (the Advanced Technology Program was not eliminated). AAAS estimates that NIH R&D increased 10% in inflation adjusted dollars between 1994 and 1997. Since cuts were not made as projected in the FY1997 budget resolution for civilian non- NIH R&D, which AAAS estimates has declined 10% in real dollars between FY1994 and FY1997, outyear R&D cuts for non-NIH R&D may be larger than originally recommended. Basic research was funded $1.1 billion, or 8.2% above FY1994, a net gain, according to AAAS, of 1.9% in real dollars.

Objections to R&D reductions were raised by the Administration and in Democratic party documents, available from the House Science Committee. The National Science Board released a statement "On Federal Investments in Science and Engineering," NSF Press Release, January 25, 1996. The Democratic membership of the House Science Committee and the Joint Economic Committee projected a 50% decline in federal R&D funding over the next 5 years, assuming maintenance of budget caps, enactment of the Balanced Budget Amendment, tax cuts attributed to the "Contract With America," no change in entitlement programs, and no cuts in real defense spending until total non-defense discretionary spending is eliminated. (Views and Estimates. Democratic Members of the Committee on Science. FY1996 Budget for Civilian R&D. Mar. 15, 1995. See: Deep Republican Science Cuts Approved. In News, House Science Committee, Democratic Membership, June 30, 1995.) Democratic objections to H.R. 3322, the omnibus science authorization bill for FY1997, are contained in Dissenting Views on the "Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of 1996" April 30, 1996, available from the Democratic staff of the Committee. Objections are to provisions to eliminate an NSF directorate, to cut technology innovation programs at the Commerce Department, to reduce some NASA, EPA and Energy programs.

The House Science Committee held a hearing in July 1996 on the Effects of a Six-year Balanced Budget on Civilian R&D. The hearings were intended to assess, among other things, the effects on research funding especially for basic research at agencies under the committee's jurisdiction, of contingency cuts of $67 billion projected for civilian R&D to meet a 7-year balanced budget projected by the President ($22 billion in 2001 and $46 billion in 2002). On April 17, 1996, in response to questions at a House Budget Committee hearing, CBO Director June O'Neill indicated that these supplementary reductions potentially could fall on science programs.

For FY1998 it is likely that the President's priorities will be continued. The Republican presidential candidate's budget plan, reportedly, would have eliminated the Energy Dept. and some of its laboratories and transferred some energy R&D programs to the NSF. Reportedly, the plan would have reduced by $32 billion funding for civilian energy R&D programs over the next 6 years. Two laboratories expected to remain open include Sandia and Los Alamos. Senator Dole also proposed cuts for the Commerce Dept. (technology-related activities in NIST). (Dole Targets DOE Civilian R&D. Science, v. 272, September 6, 1996 and The Candidates Speak. Science, October 18, 1996, p. 361-366.)

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Large Research Projects

Megaprojects like the Space Station generally require long-term, large capital investments, or long-term commitments of large sums of money for individual researchers working toward a research goal, such as the Human Genome project. They may necessitate building new large facilities or instruments, which require large operating funds, thereby "mortgaging the future" of federal R&D funding. Usually the scientific objective of a big science project cannot be achieved by using another research approach. Critics say that as funding for "big" science increases, "small" science funding decreases. As a result, researchers become more conservative and take fewer risks, and creative science diminishes.

Funding for megaprojects decreased and the composition of priorities for megaprojects has changed considerably since FY1992, with decreases for defense megaprojects, and some slight increases for civilian megaprojects, despite the cancellation of the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) and scaling back of the Space Station. The Moon Mars Program was zeroed out for FY1994, as was the Maglev program for FY1995. Overall, cutbacks are due to perceived waste resulting from failures, budgetary pressures, lack of foreign contributions, and pressures from other fields of science. The dollars saved may not go to support R&D. Various budget reduction proposals suggest cuts for global change research, magnetic fusion (which was cut 34%), biotechnology, and human genome research, the space station, and Mission to Planet Earth. International collaboration may become an important issue since the OECD science ministers, as expected in September 1995, adopted a U.S.-initiated proposal to establish a formal deliberative body to promote cooperation and guide priority selection for megaprojects. (See CRS Report 96-770 and CRS Report 95-764. See also: Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) International Partnerships in Large Science Projects, OTA-BP-TI-50, July 1995, 132 p.)

Congressional Earmarking of Specific R&D Projects

Enactment of legislation to give the President a line-item veto may reduce the practice of earmarking if the earmarks are specified as line-items in relevant enactments (P.L. 104-130). There has been considerable controversy about congressional designation of specific R&D projects (appropriating funding for a specific performer to conduct a specific project, without competitive peer review and without the agency having included the project in its budget request). In the latest comprehensive data, the OSTP reported that for FY1993 the Congress earmarked about $1,712 million for R&D and research facilities (71% more than for FY1992), including $442 million for universities (22% more than for FY1992). Many of the directed appropriations establish new centers, institutions or other organizations, implying long-time federal support. Some believe earmarking helps to develop R&D capability in institutions that do not normally compete well and that it compensates for reduced federal programs for instrumentation and facilities renewal. Economic incentives also motivate earmarking in the belief of an association between R&D capacity and industrial growth. Critics believe that since earmarked projects are not planned by federal agencies, they compromise goals, undermine the authorization process, distort agency R&D plans, and shift funding from priority, peer-reviewed projects. Some have proposed that authorization bills should limit the dollar amount that could be spent on earmarked capital projects or state that all grants will be subject to competitive review. President Clinton proposed rescinding earmarked appropriations in agriculture and the Clinton- Gore technology policy document, Technology for America's Economic Growth: A New Direction to Build Economic Strength, February 1993, pledged that the Administration would "work closely with Congress to prevent "earmarking" of funds for science and technology." Two non-binding changes were made in Democratic Caucus rules and a new House rule was adopted to help authorizing committees prevent appropriating committees from designating specific projects. ("Brown Sees Gains in His Battle Against Academic Earmarks," Congressional Quarterly, December 4, 1993, 3307-3310.) Proposals urge agencies not to from award merit-reviewed funding to schools which received earmarks. The Final Report of the House Members of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress, December 1993, recommended that committee reports list all earmarked funds below the appropriations account level. (H.Rept. 103-413, vol 1, p. 11.) Aspects of earmarking and indirect costs were scrutinized in a GAO report, Department of Transportation: University Research Activities Need Greater Oversight, RCED-94-175, May 1994. Sec. 7203 of P.L. 103- 355, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, is intended to encourage merit- based selection procedures and to discourage earmarks and the designation of non- specific earmarks in public laws. The law does not direct that these provisions apply to report language, where many earmarks appear.

Current Priority-Setting Activities

Recommendations to Coordinate R&D Priority-Setting: Congress

Congressional jurisdiction for R&D is split among a number of committees and subcommittees. There has not been a unified mechanism to determine an explicit R&D budget or to evaluate the total government research portfolio in terms of progress toward meeting national objectives. The 104th Congress House reorganization transferred responsibility for all energy research, development, and demonstrations; and all federally owned or operated nonmilitary energy laboratories and aspects of marine research to the House Committee on Science (formerly Committee on Science, Space and Technology). Other authorizing committees are responsible for other major R&D activities, such as defense, health, nuclear energy.

The NAS report, Allocating Federal Funds for Science and Technology, recommended that the R&D budget be considered as a unified whole before it is distributed to separate committees and subcommittees and that it be reconstituted from an R&D budget to a science and technology budget (to connote the function of creating new knowledge), excluding defense development activities. Objections were raised by the American Physical Society at hearings held by the House Science Committee in February 1996. The OTA and the NAS reported that R&D support criteria should be explicit, to evaluate R&D projects against national goals, such as national prestige, political needs, scientific merit, education, building regional capacity, geographic distribution, and training. (Federally Funded Research: Decisions for a Decade, 1991.) A presidential report, Science in the National Interest, 1994, blurred distinctions between basic and applied research and proposed actions to meet five broad goals for U.S. world leadership in S&T. National R&D investment, it said, should be increased to 3% of GDP. The President's priorities appear in the biennial report, Science and Technology Report to Congress, 1995 and in a 1995 white paper, "Technology and Economic Growth: Producing Real Results for the American People," which stresses applied R&D. A 1996 report by the Council on Competitiveness, "Endless Frontier, Limited Resources," recommends new partnerships and collaborations between governmental and non- governmental sectors to keep U.S. R&D vital.

Priorities for Critical Technologies

P.L. 101-189 and P.L. 100-456 require the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to identify priorities for critical dual-use technologies that serve both national security and economic prosperity goals. The most recent National Critical Technologies Report (1995), covers 27 technologies, and compares the current U.S. competitive position relative to Japan and Europe. Critics of such lists say that if R&D funding focuses on these priorities, crucial research opportunities might be foreclosed.

Cross-Cutting National Research Initiatives

Another type of priority-setting began in FY1991, when the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) identified cross-cutting interagency work to be Presidential science initiatives. OMB required agencies to "fence" funding for these programs, and special FCCSET committees prepared planning reports and budget cross-cuts for them. For FY1997 the initiatives are: high performance computing and communications, $1.050 billion; U.S. global change research, $1.852 billion; environmental and natural resources, $5.448 billion; Partnership for a new generation of vehicles, $.288 billion; construction and building, $.194 billion; and educational technology, $.434 billion.

National Performance Review (NPR) and Government Performance and Results Act of 1993

The Administration, in Technology for America's Economic Growth: A New Direction to Build Economic Strength, called for evaluation of technology programs "against pre-established criteria to determine if they should remain part of a national program. . . ." While the National Performance Review report, From Red Tape to Results. Creating a Government That Works Better and Costs Less. Report of the National Performance Review, September 7, 1993, contains recommendations for evaluation and performance review, the Government Performance and Results Act, P.L. 103-62, (GPRA), codified requirements into law. It requires agencies to define long- term goals, set specific annual performance targets, and report annually on performance. These requirements embrace R&D budgeting but legislative language notes the difficulty of quantitatively measuring some program outputs and allows alternatives. The NSTC Committee on Fundamental Science developed guidance to assess basic research investment, Assessing Fundamental Science, July 1996, and the Critical Technologies Institute held workshops in 1994 and 1995. The Research Roundtable, an interagency group, spearheaded by HHS, developed guidance for R&D performance measures.

GPRA is to be phased in by 2000, with agency preparation of 3-year strategic plans for program activities due on September 30, 1997. The agencies are required to consult Congress in developing this information. The Republican Budget Initiative for FY1995 recommended greater congressional involvement and more consideration of subsequent budgetary reallocations of financial resources in preparation of performance reviews. It remains to be seen if research performance can be measured adequately. (See CRS Report 96-198 SPR.) In September 1995, OMB Director Rivlin directed agencies to accelerate their development of strategic plans and use of performance information for budgeting in development of FY1997 and FY1998 budgets. The House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, together with the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, held hearings in March 1996 on GPRA implementation. The House Science Committee held hearings on July 10 on the issue of GPRA implementation in the civilian science agencies.

National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)

Executive Order 12881 established NSTC with cabinet-level status on a par with the National Security Council. Among its main functions are to prepare, for OMB R&D budget recommendations coordinated across agencies to accomplish national objectives in specific functional areas and to advice OMB on agency R&D budget submissions. The NSTC coordinating committees have prepared R&D strategies and budget recommendations. Committees cover: health; safety and food; fundamental science and engineering; information and communication; environment and natural resources; civilian industrial technology; education and training; transportation; national security; and international science, engineering, and technology.

Department of Science and Technology/Omnibus Civilian Science R&D Bill

Proponents of creating a Department of Science and Technology argue that consolidation would confer Cabinet rank and high-level attention to science and technology, eliminate duplication, facilitate interdisciplinary approaches to solving problems involving the application of science and technology, and elevate the status of science in Congress via creation of one oversight committee. Opponents contend that science and technology functions in most federal agencies are closely related to agency missions and that removing them would seriously compromise the government's ability to meet statutorily mandated responsibilities in a technically sound manner. They contend that pluralism in funding is healthy for research and that having research driven by real world problems helps to prioritize scientific and technical activities.

H.R. 1300 (103rd Congress) would have transferred into a new department NASA, NIST, NSF, NOAA, EPA, NTIA, and some DOE facilities. The House, in November 1993, defeated by six votes ("Penny-Kasich" amendment to H.R. 3400) an amendment to create a new Department of Science, Space, Energy, and Technology. H.R. 1756, the Department of Commerce Dismantling Act, was reported. The Science Committee approved an amendment to create a U.S. Science and Technology Administration, to "house" Commerce Department science programs (see CRS Report 95-235 SPR). A proposal to create a National Scientific, Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was included in the House-passed version of H.R. 2586, vetoed by the President. The House Science Committee held hearings in 1995 on a proposal to create a Department of Science. H.R. 2586 would have created an independent National Scientific, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Administration. H.R. 2405, the Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization Act of 1995, "bundled" seven traditional science agency authorization bills, eliminated the Commerce Department, and created a National Institute for Science and Technology to house former Commerce science agencies. H.R. 3322, the Omnibus Civilian Science Authorization bill passed by the House May 30, 1996 (H.Rept. 104-550. pt. 1.), authorized funding for the research agencies under the jurisdiction of the committee (except for DOE science programs). Unlike H.R. 2405, of the first session, it bypassed separate authorizations bills for each agency. It was not enacted.