President's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): Issues for Congress [January 13, 2014] [open pdf - 799KB]
"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.' […] Some in the S&T [Science and Technology] community support raising the OSTP Director to Cabinet rank, contending that this would imbue the position with greater influence within the EOP. Others have proposed that the OSTP Director play a greater role in federal agency coordination, priority setting, and budget allocation. Both the Administration and Congress have identified areas of policy focus for OSTP staff, raising questions of policy setting and oversight. Some experts say NSTC has insufficient authority over federal agencies engaged in science and technology activities and PCAST insufficient influence on S&T policy; they question the overall coordination of federal science and technology activities. Finally, some in the scientific community support increasing the authority of the OSTP Director in the budget process to bring greater science and technology expertise to federal investment decision making."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34736