The Administration supports several elements of H.R. 2086, but strongly
urges that the bill be amended to conform the authorization levels to those
requested in the President's FY 2001 Budget. The investment levels in the
Budget will support the research needed to underpin advances in information
technology that are critical to our Nation's current and future prosperity.
The goals stated in H.R. 2086 can only be achieved by supporting the
diverse research capabilities available in each participating agency.
The Administration acknowledges the improvements made to the bill to
address the Administration's comments on earlier versions of the bill. The
Administration will, however, continue to seek improvements to the bill as
it progresses through the legislative process, including those described
The Administration is particularly concerned that without amendment, H.R.
2086 does not authorize adequate funding for the National Science
Foundation (NSF) to expand its programs in software design, high end
computing and communication, high confidence systems, human centered
systems and other areas supporting the objectives of the bill. The
Administration is concerned that the bill does not provide adequate support
for the Department of Energy to enhance its efforts to produce the
scientific computing, networking and collaboration tools, and simulation
tools that researchers nationwide will require to address the scientific
challenges of the next decade. H.R. 2086 also fails to provide
authorizations for NASA, NOAA, and NIST adequate to allow those agencies to
take full advantage of emerging information technology and contribute fully
to this critical national research effort.
The Administration also is concerned about the provision requiring the NSF
to conduct a study to assess foreign encryption technologies and domestic
technologies subject to export restriction. The Administration recognizes
the concerns of Congress in this area, but does not support a statutory
mandate requiring a study by NSF. The Administration recently implemented
significant changes to its encryption policy that remove export controls on
most encryption products while still protecting important national security
interests. Any encryption product can now be exported to businesses,
private organizations, and individuals worldwide (except the seven
terrorist-supporting states). The Administration has periodically updated
encryption export controls to reflect changes in the market place and will
continue to monitor the situation closely, including the question of
foreign availability. This flexibility permits the proper balancing of
commerce, privacy, national security, and public safety.
Language in H.R. 2086 permitting Federally Funded Research and Development
Centers (FFRDCs) to apply for NSF grants is not needed. NSF procedures,
developed over many years, already permit FFRDCs "that can make unique
contributions" to receive NSF funds.
The Administration supports an amendment to be offered by Representative
Ralph Hall and Representative David Wu that would increase authorizations
for FY 2001 for the National Science Foundation to the Budget request.