American Institute of Physics
SEARCH AIP
home contact us sitemap

FYI Number 92: August 1, 2002

Senate Appropriators Finish FY 2003 NIST Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee has sent S. 2778, the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Bill, to the floor. The House has not yet acted. This bill contains the following funding levels for the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

TOTAL NIST BUDGET:
Current budget: $686.8 million
Under the Senate bill, the budget would increase by 0.8%, or $5.4 million, to $692.2 million

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES:
Current budget: $321.1 million
Under the Senate bill, the budget would increase by 4.8%, or $15.3 million, to $336.4 million.

INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES:
Current budget: $291.0 million
Under the Senate bill, the budget would increase 0.3%, or $944,000, to $292.0 million.

CONSTRUCTION OF FACILITIES:
Current budget: $62.4 million
Under the Senate bill, the budget would increase 2.2%, or $1.4 million, to $63.8 million.

The committee's report, S. Report 107-218, describes the committee's recommendations:

NIST:

"The Committee recommends a total of $692,169,000 for the three appropriations accounts under the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST]. The recommendation is $129,059,000 above the budget request. The Committee recommendation includes the fiscal year 2002 funding level, a 4.1 percent pay adjustment for Federal employees and $5,000,000 for requested Homeland Security program increases."

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES:

"The Committee recommends an appropriation of $336,443,000. The recommendation is $48,366,000 below the budget request."

At this point the committee report listed funding levels for various laboratories. Among them:
The current Physics lab budget is $33.1 million. The Senate bill would increase it to $33.6 million.
The current Material Sciences and Engineering lab budget is $56.5 million. The Senate bill would increase it to $57.4 million.
The current Electronics and Electrical Engineering lab budget is $41.3 million. The Senate bill would increase it to $41.9 million.

Regarding these laboratories, the Senate committee report stated: "Within the amounts provided, the Committee approves the following increases . . . $4,000,000 in the Physics program to provide measurements, standards, and test methods for the development of advanced nanotechnologies . . . . "

INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES:

"The Committee recommends an appropriation of $291,976,000. The recommendation is $172,369,000 above the budget request.

"Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program [MEP]- The Committee recommends an appropriation of $106,623,000 to fully fund all of the MEP centers.

"Advanced Technology Program [ATP]- The Committee recommends an appropriation of $185,353,000. The recommendation is $39,198,000 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, $45,000,000 shall be used for administrative costs, internal laboratory support, and for Small Business Innovation Research Program [SBIR] requirements. NIST may not apply a contracts and grants processing surcharge to the ATP program.

"The Committee is concerned that the Department of Commerce has had difficulty understanding Congressional intent in regards to funding of new awards under the ATP program. In fiscal year 2002, the Committees on Appropriations provided $60,700,000 for new ATP awards, yet the Department committed to issuing only $35,000,000. The Committees on Appropriations clarified Congressional intent on this matter by modifying bill language in the fiscal year 2002 Supplemental Appropriations bill. The Committee recommends similar modified bill language which obligates the Department of Commerce to spending a full $60,700,000 in fiscal year 2003 towards the awards. In addition, in the fiscal year budget request, NIST proposed reforms, supposedly designed to improve the ATP program. The Committee reminds NIST that the creation of legislation regarding ATP reform is a function of the U.S. Congress and that NIST shall issue $60,700,000 in new ATP awards in fiscal year 2003 even in the absence of Congressional action on suggested authorizing legislation.

"In the budget request, the administration proposed reduced funding for the Advanced Technology Program. The Committee does not recommend this approach and is concerned that the ATP awarding process has been purposely hindered as a result of philosophical differences of opinion between the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Congress. 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 2003. This plan should be submitted and approved by the Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary before any funds are obligated for Department of Commerce, Departmental Management."

CONSTRUCTION OF RESEARCH FACILITIES

"The Committee recommends an appropriation of $63,750,000. The recommendation is $9,538,000 above the budget request and fully funds the highest priority safety, capacity, maintenance, and repair projects at NIST. Of the amounts provided, $15,000,000 is provided for equipping and relocation expenses related to NIST's Advanced Measurement Laboratory in Gaithersburg, MD and $19,265,000 is for construction and renovation projects at NIST's Boulder, CO site."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3095

Back to FYI Home