HR 1276 -- 04/23/97

April 23, 1997
(House Rules)

H.R. 1276 - Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration
Authorization Act of 1997
(Calvert (R) CA)

Although H.R. 1276, as reported, is improved and reflects the bipartisan efforts of the House Science Committee, the Administration opposes the bill because it fails to support investments critical to improving the environment. The funding levels contained in the President's FY 1998 Budget reflect priorities developed as part of a risk-based process. H.R. 1276 would eliminate or significantly reduce the appropriations authorizations for a number of these priorities. For example, the bill would not authorize sufficient appropriations and as a result could adversely affect programs such as the Environmental Monitoring and Tracking Initiative, which would provide critical information to help communities resolve local environmental problems. In addition, authorizations are reduced significantly for the Global Change Research Program and for the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles.

Section 7 also contains an overly broad prohibition that, if applied literally, would inappropriately and unnecessarily limit EPA's ability to advise Congress and the public of views on pending legislation. This provision is constitutionally suspect, insofar as it purports unduly to limit the President's authority to communicate his views through subordinates to Congress and the American people, and should therefore be deleted.

Finally, H.R. 1276 contains an unprecedented provision, which should be deleted from the bill, that could establish "de facto debarment" of certain grants recipients. (The Administration, however, supports the underlying intent of this provision, which is to provide for increased competition for research and development financial assistance.)