The President's Office of Science and Technology Policy: Issues for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Congress established the Office of Science and Technology Policy OSTP through the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 P.L. 94-282. The act states that The primary function of the OSTP Director is to provide, within the Executive Office of the President EOP, advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of issues that require attention at the highest level of Government. Further, The Office shall serve as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the Federal Government. The OSTP Director also manages the National Science and Technology Council NSTC, established by Executive Order 12881, which coordinates science and technology ST policy across the Federal Government, establishes national goals for federal ST investments, and prepares coordinated research and development RD strategies. In addition, the OSTP Director co-chairs the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology PCAST, established by Executive Order 13226. The OSTP Director also plays a role in the communication of scientific and technical information by federal agency scientists and engineers. An issue for Congress is what should be the appropriate title, rank, role, and responsibilities of OSTPs Director. Congress may consider several legislative options regarding OSTP. First, it may wish to allow the President to have autonomy over OSTP. Currently, the President maintains discretion over the policies, structure, and personnel of OSTP, NSTC, and PCAST, often through executive orders. Second, Congress may wish to evaluate whether or not OSTP is still needed within the EOP. If so, Congress can continue its current OSTP legislative guidance mechanisms, or it can increase the intensity with which it applies those mechanisms.
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