Week ahead: Regs on academic research, drones top agenda

House lawmakers in the coming week will discuss how they can streamline the regulations governing the billions in federal funds spent on academic research every year.

The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology hearing Thursday comes in response to two reports, which came out in June. One was from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee on Federal Research Regulations and Requirements and another was from the Government Accountability Office.


A House Science Committee aide said the reports made some overlapping recommendations about how to streamline the regulatory process.

The aide said about 40 percent of a researcher's time is spent on administrative work – filing out forms and grant applications. 

The federal government is second behind the private sector as the biggest source of academic research funding. According to The National Science Foundation, the federal government spent $27 billion on university research in 2015 alone.

In its report, GAO said the White House Office of Management and Budget and research funding agencies have established administrative requirements on research grants to protect against waste, fraud and abuse of funds and to promote the quality and effectiveness of federally funded research. But they said those regulations also create more work and costs for universities.  

The subcommittee plans to discuss the recommendations from each report. Larry Falkner, chair of the National Academies committee, and John Neumann, director of GAO's national resources and environment team, are expected to testify. 

It's a busy week for Congress as they will be focused on passing a spending bill to avert a shutdown. But lawmakers have a host of regulatory matters they intend to tackle.

On Tuesday, the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration's regulatory framework for commercial drone operations. http://bit.ly/2dkseBX

That same day, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the Department of Justice and witness immunity. http://bit.ly/2dpzBLi 

Also on Tuesday, a House Financial Services Subcommittee will hold a hearing on "Examining Legislative Proposals to Address Consumer Access to Mainstream Banking Services." http://bit.ly/2cNiWzm

On Wednesday, the full House Financial Services Committee willhear from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on the central bank and its regulatory work. http://bit.ly/2cJgjMI

On Wednesday, the Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing to assess the nation's economic recovery. http://bit.ly/2dpzmjk

On Thursday, expect fireworks when the House Financial Services Subcommittee holds a hearing on Wells Fargo's recent fraud scandal that saw employees open fake accounts that racked up millions in fees for customers. http://bit.ly/2cNiWPY

On Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management will hold a hearing to look the factors influencing millennials' decision to pursue federal employment or remain a federal employee. http://bit.ly/2dgsGoV


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