The Physics Laboratory budget is now $32,695,000.
The Administration request was $37,154,000. The House bill provided
$37,193,000. The Senate bill provides $37,054,000.
The Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory
budget is now $56,397,000. The Administration request was $62,696,000.
The House bill provided $62,766,000. The Senate bill provides $62,532,000.
The Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory
budget is now $40,797,000. The Administration request was $41,214,000.
The House bill provided $41,286,000. The Senate bill provides $41,132,000.
The Senate report language provides an increase of $4.0
million within the amount provided for the Physics Program
for "measurements, standards, and test methods for the development
of advanced nanotechnologies."
The most extensive language of Senate Report 107-42 concerns
the Advanced Technology Program, and seems written to respond
to the House report language that contended,
"After many years in existence, the program has not produced
a body of evidence to overcome those fundamental questions about
whether the program should exist in the first place."
The Senate report states:
"The Committee recommends an appropriation of $204,200,000.
The recommendation is $191,208,000 above the budget request. This
amount, when combined with approximately $11,000,000 in carryover,
will fully fund ATP awards at current levels. Within the amounts
made available, $45,200,000 shall be used for administrative costs,
internal laboratory support, and for Small Business Innovation Research
Program [SBIR] requirements.
"The Committee notes that the Advanced Technology Program
has been extensively reviewed. Since the inception of the ATP, there
have been 52 studies conducted on the efficacy and merits of the
program. The General Accounting Office has conducted 14 studies;
10 studies have been completed by the Department of Commerce, Office
of the Inspector General; former Secretary of Commerce William Daley
sponsored a 60-day study, and the National Research Council published,
`ATP: Challenges and Opportunities' in 1999, and, `ATP: Assessing
Outcomes' in 2001. In addition, 25 studies have been done by ATP's
economic assessment office. These assessments reveal that the ATP
does not fund projects that otherwise could have been financed in
the private sector. Rather, the ATP facilitates so called `valley
of death' projects that private capital markets are unable to fund.
"ATP has put a number of safeguards in place to ensure
program funding does not replace private, venture capital funding.
Since the 1998 competition, the ATP application form has included
asking applicants to describe what efforts were made, prior to applying
for ATP funding, to secure private capital for the project. In addition,
this issue is addressed in oral reviews of project semifinalists.
"The Committee maintains that the government should play
a role in choosing promising technologies to fund. From the telegraph
to the Internet to biomedical research, government investment has
spurred the development of new technologies and new fields which
have had great impact on and held enormous benefit for the American
people. According to the National Academy of Sciences' National
Research Council, ATP's approach is funding new technologies that
can contribute to important societal goals. For example, ATP supported
GE Medical Systems in the development of a new method of producing
large-area, flat-panel amorphous silicon detectors for X-rays. The
research significantly reduced the number of processing steps required
to manufacture the panels and increased the yield. The panels are
the heart of a new digital mammography system which was one of the
biggest breakthroughs in mammography in 20 years. In the sense that
it was possible to manufacture these panels before, the broad research
goal was not unique. However, the innovative technology was unique,
and its development is making digital mammography more affordable
and more widely available to women.
"The Committee concurs with the June 2001 National Academy
of Sciences assessment [see
FYI #79]; the many well-documented individual
case studies; the Secretary's 1997 review; the February 1998 Development,
Commercialization, and Diffusion Study; and the March 1999 review
of the Performance of Completed Projects, all of which find that
the ATP is a valuable and well-managed innovation program.
"In the budget request, the administration proposed a
gradual phasing out of the Advanced Technology Program. The Committee
does not recommend this approach and is concerned that the ATP awarding
process could be purposely hindered as a result of this difference
of opinion. Therefore, the Committee directs the Department of Commerce
to submit a written plan on how it intends on making timely ATP
awards in fiscal year 2002. This plan should be submitted to the
Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, State and the
Judiciary before any funds are obligated for Department of Commerce,
Regarding the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program,
the Senate appropriators stated:
"The Committee recommends an appropriation of $105,137,000
to fully fund all of the MEP centers. The Committee recommends bill
language to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to enter into agreements
with nonprofit organizations to carry out collective research and
development initiatives through the MEP. In addition, this language
authorizes the Secretary to seek and accept contributions from public
and private sources to support these efforts."
The House bill provides $106,522,000.
The two bills also differ regarding the FY 2002 construction
budget. The House bill provides the Bush request of $20.9 million,
down from the current budget of $34.8 million. The Senate report states:
"The Committee recommends an appropriation of $43,893,000.
The recommendation is $23,000,000 above the budget request and fully
funds the highest priority safety, capacity, maintenance, and repair
projects at NIST. Of the amounts provided, $5,000,000 is provided
for wiring improvements at the NIST research facility in Boulder,