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Executive Secretariat

Congressional Reports Required by Law

The following instructions apply to statutorily required reports prepared for transmittal to the Congress by the NIH or HHS (“the Department”). They do not apply to reports required by the appropriations or legislative committees of the Congress (CACRs) nor to reports required by the White House.

The Executive Secretariat (ES) (301-496-1461) can provide more detailed guidelines and procedures concerning the time, preparation, submission, review, and revision of these reports and accompanying documents.

Report Package

Prepare the entire report package in final format, ready for transmittal through the Department to Congress, even though it may be returned for changes as a result of NIH and HHS departmental reviews. The report package, to be forwarded in DDRMS, must include the following documents:

  • Transmittal memorandum from the Director, NIH, to the Secretary of HHS.
    • Prepare in MS Word on NIH electronic letterhead, if possible.
  • Summary Statement in MS Word (no letterhead).
  • Transmittal letters from the NIH Director or the Secretary to recipients of the report as identified in the requiring statute or, if recipients are not specified, to the appropriate members of Congress as identified by your Institute’s/Center’s (IC’s) Legislative Contact or the NIH Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis (OLPA).

    • Prepare in MS Word; NIH electronic letterhead if for the NIH Director’s signature; no letterhead if for the Secretary’s, HHS, signature unless you have the appropriate electronic letterhead.
    • Note: If the report required by statute is directed to be sent to recipients other than Congress (i.e., FDA, GAO, or the Secretary of HHS for information not action), the transmittal letters or memoranda will differ. In these cases, first consult the instructions in the REMARKS section of your DDRMS assignment and, second, your ES contact.
  • Report in final form, unless it is to be printed and bound after being approved by the Secretary.
    • Prepare the report and any attachments or appendices in MS Word, unless only available in other electronic format such as MS Excel, Adobe Acrobat, PowerPoint slides, etc.

Please note: instructions on preparing documents for transmittal to the Secretary or Congress, including Forms of Address, can be found on the Controlled Correspondence page.

Preparing the Report

The report is officially a draft until reviewers’ comments, if any, are addressed. The originating office, however, should prepare the report (as well as all transmittal letters) as a final document and should ensure the following:

  • The report is responsive to the requirements of the statute.
  • The report is written as much as possible in nontechnical, plain language.
  • The text is clear of typographical and grammatical errors.
  • ES can provide examples of other reports to use as models.

Review Process and Transmittal

If there is an assignment from ES, the originating office submits the report package to ES in DDRMS. The package will be reviewed by staff in the Office of the Director, NIH, and by ICs, if necessary.

NIH reviewers’ comments will be coordinated by ES and, if substantive changes are needed, returned to the originating office for revision. After revising the report and accompanying documents as necessary, the originating office will resubmit the package to ES in DDRMS by the deadline.

After the Director, NIH, signs the transmittal memo to the Secretary, ES will send the report to the Department for review within the Office of the Secretary (OS) and by other HHS agencies, as necessary.

If OS or other HHS reviewers request substantive changes to the report or its transmittals, ES will forward those comments to the originating office for consideration and, if necessary, request further revision of the report. If no changes are recommended, OS will either return the report to ES/NIH for the NIH Director to sign the letters to Congress or will present the report to the Secretary, HHS, for signature on the transmittal letters. In most cases, OS will transmit the letters and reports signed by the Secretary while NIH/ES will do the same for letters and reports signed by the NIH Director.

This page last reviewed on April 14, 2017

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