House Bill Would Encourage Interagency Coordination to Address Threats to Sensitive Federally Funded Research
June 03, 2019

​A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) last week introduced the Securing American Science and Technology Act of 2019 (H.R. 3038), legislation that would direct the White House National Science and Technology Council to establish an interagency working group of federal science, intelligence, and security agencies. 

The working group would evaluate existing mechanisms designed to control federally funded research and develop a new framework to address the security needs of agencies and federal grant recipients. ACE was among the 26 higher education associations and research universities that sent a letter of support to the bill’s sponsors May 30. 

The legislation also would establish a roundtable, convened by the National Academies, to facilitate discussion and share best practices among academia and the federal science and security agencies on these topics. It authorizes three agencies—the National Science Foundation and the departments of Defense and Energy—to spend $5 million over the next five years to support the new roundtable’s activities.

As Science Magazine​ reports, the scope and composition of the bill’s backers should help it move quickly through the House. Sherrill chairs the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, which has jurisdiction over the topic in conjunction with the House Armed Services Committee, whose chair—Jim Langevin (D–RI)—is one of the bill’s co-sponsors. 

The legislation also has the backing of the chair of the House science committee, Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX), and its top Republican, Frank Lucas (R–OK), as well as Langevin’s counterpart on the military panel, Ellen Stefanik (R–NY). ​​​​​