Federal Relations

October 3, 2012

GAO Review Requested of Regulations that Hinder Research Universities

Earlier today Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL), Chair of the House Research and Science Education Subcommittee, asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review “regulatory actions that hinder our nation’s research universities.”

In his letter to GAO, the Chairman asked GAO to look at three general questions: What federal requirements, not limited to legislative mandates, reporting requirements, and regulations create reporting burdens for research universities; how research university requirements under OMB Circulars A-21, A-133, and Federal Acquisition Regulation 4.703 balance regulatory burden with accountability for federal funds; and what might be the potential benefits and disadvantages of modifying requirements, including those “that experts and universities have identified as most burdensome.”

Congressman Brooks wrote that it was evident, based on a recommendation in the National Research Council’s report on research universities, two hearings he convened in his subcommittee to follow up on the report, and additional conversations he held with the university research community, that “the current regulatory environment may be limiting the growth of fundamental basic scientific research.”