Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to thank the Senator from Alabama and the Chairman of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee for their diligent efforts to develop legislation that will provide the public with access to federally funded research data. The Conference Report for the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for FY 99 currently before us requires the Director of OMB to amend OMB Circular A-110 to require Federal awarding agencies to ensure that all research results, including underlying research data, funded by the Federal government are made available to the public through the procedures established under the Freedom of Information Act. This provision represents a critical step forward in assuring that the public has access to the research and underlying data used by the Federal government in developing policy and rules.
Mr. CAMPBELL. I thank the Majority Leader and my colleague from Alabama for his leadership on this issue. The gentleman is correct. The language included in the Conference Report will require Federal agencies to make all Federally funded research data available to the public through procedures established by the Freedom of Information Act. The Conferees recognize that this language covers research data not currently covered by the Freedom of Information Act. The provision applies to all Federally funded research data regardless of whether the awarding agency has the data at the time the request is made. If the awarding agency must obtain the data from the recipient of the award, the provision specifically states that the awarding agency may authorize a reasonable user fee equaling the incremental cost of obtaining the data. It is my expectation that the Director of OMB to make the required changes within 90 days of enactment and that awarding agencies to issue new regulations implementing the amended Circular within one year of enactment. As is true with the existing OMB Circular A-110, the amended Circular shall apply to all Federally funded research, regardless of the level of funding or whether the award recipient is also using non-Federal funds. I want to thank my colleague from Alabama for his leadership on this important issue and his efforts to safeguard the public's right to know.
Mr. SHELBY. I thank the Majority Leader and Chairman Campbell for their support. The lack of public access to research data feeds general public mistrust of the government and undermines support for major regulatory programs. This measure was long overdue and it represents a first step in ensuring that the public has access to all studies used by the Federal government to develop Federal policy.
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