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Title of Law:Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999
Law #:Public Law 105-276
Passed by Congress:105th Congress (2nd Session)

The following are excerpts, highlighted in red, from the final legislation and/or conference report which contain NRC studies. (Pound signs [##] between passages denote the deletion of unrelated text.)

HR4194 Lewis Jerry (R-CA) 10/08/98
Enrolled (finally passed both houses)

Making appropriations for the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, and for sundry independent agencies, boards, commissions, corporations, and offices for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1999, and for other purposes.
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TITLE IV--GENERAL PROVISIONS

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SEC. 423. (a) Within 90 days of the enactment of this Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission shall make all necessary arrangements for the Committee on Toxicology of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct an independent 12-month study of the potential toxicologic risks of all flame-retardant chemicals identified by the NAS and the Commission as likely candidates for use in residential upholstered furniture for the purpose of meeting regulations proposed by the Commission for flame resistance of residential upholstered furniture.

(b) Upon completion of its report, the Academy shall send the report to the Commission, which shall provide it to the Congress.

(c) The Commission, before promulgating any notice of proposed rulemaking or final rulemaking setting flammability standards for residential upholstered furniture, shall consider fully the findings and conclusions of the Academy.

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SEC. 430. COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNTABILITY STUDY FOR FEDERALLY-FUNDED RESEARCH. (a) STUDY.--The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, may enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences for the Academy to conduct a comprehensive study to develop methods for evaluating federally-funded research and development programs. This study shall--

(1) recommend processes to determine an acceptable level of success for federally-funded research and development programs by--

(A) describing the research process in the various scientific and engineering disciplines;

(B) describing in the different sciences what measures and what criteria each community uses to evaluate the success or failure of a program, and on what time scales these measures are considered reliable--both for exploratory long-range work and for short-range goals; and

(C) recommending how these measures may be adapted for use by the Federal Government to evaluate federally-funded research and development programs;

(2) assess the extent to which agencies incorporate independent merit-based evaluation into the formulation of the strategic plans of funding agencies and if the quantity or quality of this type of input is unsatisfactory;

(3) recommend mechanisms for identifying federally-funded research and development programs which are unsuccessful or unproductive;

(4) evaluate the extent to which independent, merit-based evaluation of federally-funded research and development programs and projects achieves the goal of eliminating unsuccessful or unproductive programs and projects; and

(5) investigate and report on the validity of using quantitative performance goals for aspects of programs which relate to administrative management of the program and for which such goals would be appropriate, including aspects related to--

(A) administrative burden on contractors and recipients of financial assistance awards;

(B) administrative burdens on external participants in independent, merit-based evaluations;

(C) cost and schedule control for construction projects funded by the program;

(D) the ratio of overhead costs of the program relative to the amounts expended through the program for equipment and direct funding of research; and

(E) the timeliness of program responses to requests for funding, participation, or equipment use.

(b) INDEPENDENT MERIT-BASED EVALUATION DEFINED.--The term "independent merit-based evaluation" means review of the scientific or technical quality of research or development, conducted by experts who are chosen for their knowledge of scientific and technical fields relevant to the evaluation and who--

(1) in the case of the review of a program activity, do not derive long-term support from the program activity; or

(2) in the case of the review of a project proposal, are not seeking funds in competition with the proposal.

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HRpt. 105-769 CONFERENCE REPORT To accompany H.R. 4194 MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR SUNDRY INDEPENDENT AGENCIES, BOARDS, COMMISSION, CORPORATIONS, AND OFFICES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 1999, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Conference Committee
(10/05/98)

Special Typefaces Key:
[[ ]] Text to be omitted // \\ Italic text
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//TITLE IV--GENERAL PROVISIONS\\

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// SEC. 423. (a) Within 90 days of enactment of this Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission shall make all necessary arrangements for the Committee on Toxicology of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct an independent 12-month study of the potential toxicologic risks of all flame-retardant chemicals identified by the NAS and the Commission as likely candidates for use in residential upholstered furniture for the purpose of meeting regulations proposed by the Commission for flame resistance of residential upholstered furniture.\\

// (b) Upon completion of its report, the Academy shall send the report to the Commission, which shall provide it to the Congress.\\

// (c) The Commission, before promulgating any notice of proposed rulemaking or final rulemaking setting flammability standards for residential upholstered furniture, shall consider fully the findings and conclusions of the Academy.\\

######

// SEC. 430. COMPREHENSIVE ACCOUNTABILITY STUDY FOR FEDERALLY-FUNDED RESEARCH. (a) STUDY.--The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, may enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences for the Academy to conduct a comprehensive study to develop methods for evaluating federally-funded research and development programs. This study shall--\\

// (1) recommend processes to determine an acceptable level of success for federally-funded research and development programs by--\\

// (A) describing the research process in the various scientific and engineering disciplines;\\

// (B) describing in the different sciences what measures and what criteria each community uses to evaluate the success or failure of a program, and on what time scales these measures are considered reliable--both for exploratory long-range work and for short-range goals; and\\

// (C) recommending how these measures may be adapted for use by the Federal Government to evaluate federally-funded research and development programs;\\

// (2) assess the extent to which agencies incorporate independent merit-based evaluation into the formulation of the strategic plans of funding agencies and if the quantity or quality of this type of input is unsatisfactory;\\

// (3) recommend mechanisms for identifying federally-funded research and development programs which are unsuccessful or unproductive;\\

// (4) evaluate the extent to which independent, merit-based evaluation of federally-funded research and development programs and projects achieves the goal of eliminating unsuccessful or unproductive programs and projects; and\\

// (5) investigate and report on the validity of using quantitative performance goals for aspects of programs which relate to administrative management of the program and for which such goals would be appropriate, including aspects related to--\\

// (A) administrative burden on contractors and recipients of financial assistance awards;\\

// (B) administrative burdens on external participants in independent, merit-based evaluations;\\

// (C) cost and schedule control for construction projects funded by the program;\\

// (D) the ratio of overhead costs of the program relative to the amounts expended through the program for equipment and direct funding of research; and\\

// (E) the timeliness of program responses to requests for funding, participation, or equipment use.\\

// (b) INDEPENDENT MERIT-BASED EVALUATION DEFINED.--The term "independent merit-based evaluation" means review of the scientific or technical quality of research or development, conducted by experts who are chosen for their knowledge of scientific and technical fields relevant to the evaluation and who--\\

// (1) in the case of the review of a program activity, do not derive long-term support from the program activity; or\\

// (2) in the case of the review of a project proposal, are not seeking funds in competition with the proposal.\\

######

CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION

SALARIES AND EXPENSES

Appropriates $47,000,000 for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, salaries and expenses, instead of $46,000,000 as proposed by the House and $46,500,000 as proposed by the Senate. The conferees agree to delete a general provision which was included in the House bill which appropriated an additional $5,000,000 for this account.

The conferees have included language in the bill which requires the Commission to contract with the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Toxicology to study the potential toxicologic risks of all flame-retardant chemicals identified by the Commission as likely candidates for use in residential upholstered furniture for the purpose of meeting regulations proposed by the Commission for flame resistance of residential upholstered furniture. The NAS study shall assess toxicologic hazards to human health, including carcinogenicity, mutangenicity, neurotoxicity, and other chronic and acute effects to consumers exposed to fabrics intended to be used in residential upholstered furniture which would be chemically treated to meet the Commission's proposed flame resistance standards. The study shall also assess potential human exposures to such flame-retardant chemicals in residential upholstered furniture, and research needed to fill important data gaps related to toxicologic risks of flame-retardant chemicals. The NAS shall complete the report within 12 months of finalizing arrangements with the Commission, and shall submit the final report to the Congress. The Commission, before promulgating any notice of proposed rulemaking or final rule setting flammability standards for residential upholstered furniture, shall consider fully the findings of the NAS. The conferees have provided $500,000 for the NAS study.

In addition, the conferees direct that the General Accounting Office conduct a review of the process the Commission has conducted regarding a possible rulemaking establishing a standard for upholstered furniture flammability, including consideration of the potential toxicity of the chemicals which would be used as flame retardants, cost-benefit analysis, and consideration of the percentage of residential fire deaths stemming from small open flames relative to other sources. As part of this study, the conferees request the GAO to review the major causes of household fires, including fires caused by cigarette smoking and small open flames. The Commission is to consider the GAO findings and recommendations prior to promulgating a final rule on upholstered furniture flammability. This issue is addressed in Section 423.

The conferees direct the General Accounting Office to study and report on the effect of the child sleepwear standard currently in effect as a result of changes adopted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in January, 1997. The GAO is to review children's burn incident data for the 18-month period of July 1997 through January 1999 and compare this data to child burn incident data from the prior four years. GAO shall also assess the information and education campaign which has been undertaken by the Commission and the apparel and retail industry since the new standards took effect in January 1997, to determine whether it effectively maximized children's safety. The Commission shall consider and substantively address the findings of the GAO and additional information collected through the National Electronic Information Surveillance System on burn data as it considers revisions to the children's sleepwear standards. This issue is addressed in section 429.

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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For fiscal year 1999, the conferees have provided $46,700,000 for continued research on particulate matter (PM), an increase of $18,000,000 above the budget request. The conferees note that the actual obligation of 1998 funds has, for many reasons, not proceeded at the pace originally expected. Nevertheless, the Agency has established July, 2002 as the date for completion of the next NAAQS review, and it is thus imperative that research be well underway and where possible, providing important data for the review and decision- making process. The conferees strongly commend the Agency for its fine efforts to date in working with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and others on this important research matter, and expect that the research funds provided for fiscal year 1999 will be obligated as quickly as possible. In this regard, the Agency is instructed not to await approval of the annual operating plan prior to obligation of these funds.

As previously noted, the Agency has established July, 2002 as the date for completion of the next NAAQS review. Because of the time necessary to conduct additional PM research, the conferees are concerned that the schedule established by EPA may not allow for adequate consideration of research that will result from the enhanced fiscal years 1998 and 1999 appropriations. The conferees strongly urge EPA to amend its PM NAAQS review schedule by reducing the Agency's drafting time and internal review time to provide as much time as possible for the consideration of new research.

Finally, with respect to the speciation component of the Agency's PM monitoring plan, the conferees request that the NAS assist EPA's Clean Air Science Advisory Committee (CASAC) by providing recommendations regarding the number and location of monitors and specific objectives and operating conditions for the various types of speciation monitors in EPA's plan. Also, NAS should evaluate the adequacy of the speciation component of the monitoring plan to characterize those constituents of PM that are biologically active. The NAS is expected to facilitate a thorough peer review of the speciation component of EPA's monitoring plan by CASAC.

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Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shall enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a comprehensive study of the effects of copper in drinking water on human health. Once completed, the Administrator of the EPA shall review the NAS study, and report to the Congress on what plans the agency has to review the copper action level pursuant to section 1412(b)(9) of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS AND MANAGEMENT

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EPA recently issued two reports to Congress addressing mercury emissions, including the "Mercury Study Report to Congress," issued in December, 1997, and the "Study of Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP) Emissions from Electric Utility Steam Generating Units-Final Report to Congress," issued in February, 1998. In April, 1998, EPA entered into a settlement agreement whereby the Agency intends to make a regulatory determination by November 15, 1998 regarding the potential need for controls on utility mercury emissions. Research needs in this regard include unresolved issues about mercury speciation and the transport, fate, and effects of mercury. Moreover, currently there are no commercially available, cost-effective technologies to significantly control mercury emissions from utilities.

In order to help fill research gaps, EPA is participating in funding: (1) the joint Federal-State Lake Superior Study on mercury transport; and (2) the government-wide National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on fish consumption and mercury ingestion. In addition to these studies, EPA is directed to enter into a contract, within 60 days of the enactment of this Act, with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to perform a comprehensive review of mercury health research and prepare recommendations on the appropriate level for a mercury exposure reference dose. The conferees intend that the NAS complete the study and recommendations within 18 months of entering into this contract, and complete all work within a budget of $1,000,000 of available EPA funds. It is the conferees intent that there be no further extension of time for completion of the NAS study beyond 18 months from the date of the EPA contract. Finally, it is also the conferees intent that EPA not issue any regulatory determination for mercury emissions from utilities until EPA reviews the results of the NAS study.

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TITLE IV--GENERAL PROVISIONS

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Inserts and modifies language proposed by the House, directing the Consumer Product Safety Commission to contract with the National Academy of Sciences for a study of flame retardant chemicals under consideration for use in upholstered furniture. The study is to be completed prior to promulgation of a notice of proposed rulemaking or final rulemaking.

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Inserts language proposed by the Senate allowing the Office of Science and Technology Policy to contract with the National Academy of Sciences for a study to develop methods for evaluating federally funded research and development programs.

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