As it has tried to do many times in the past (see FYI
#80 in 2000) the House Appropriations Committee has voted to eliminate
the Advanced Technology Program at the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST). On July 16, the committee marked up the Commerce-Justice-State
Appropriations Bill for FY 2004.
The current NIST budget is $707.5 million. The Bush Administration
requested $496.8 million for FY 2004. House appropriators recommend
$460.1 million, which is a decline of $247.4 million or 35.0% from
current year funding.
Within this total, the current budget for the NIST laboratories is
$351.9 million. The Bush Administration requested $381.8 million.
House Appropriators recommend $352.7 million, which is an increase of
$0.8 million, or 0.2%.
House Report 108-221 states the following regarding the physics program:
"Under the Physics [budget category] heading, $750,000
is for the necessary critical back-up elements for NIST time scale and
time dissemination services; $1,450,000 is for research to develop measurements
and standards for nanotechnology-based products, including semiconductors;
$2,000,000 is for research to strengthen radiation measurements for
nuclear and radiological detection capabilities; and $1,500,000 is for
research to improve measurements in the development of quantum information
technology with applications to homeland security."
In the section entitled Industrial Technology Services, the report
"Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program.--Recent
economic downturns have had a devastating effect on the manufacturing
sector. In an effort to ameliorate some of these negative effects, the
Committee recommendation includes $39,607,000 for this program in fiscal
year 2004, which is $27,007,000 above the request [of $12.6 million]
and $66,393,000 [or 62.6%] below the amount in the current year
[of $105.9 million]. Federal support for the MEP program, combined
with State and private sector funding, have translated into more jobs,
more tax revenue, more exports, and a more secure supply source of consumer
and defense goods in this country. The Committee understands that NIST
has requested the National Association of Public Administration (NAPA)
to conduct a study on the continued requirements of the MEP program.
"Advanced Technology Program.--The Committee does not include
funding for this program." The current budget is $178.0 million;
the Bush Administration request was $27 million.
Finally, under the category of Construction of Research Facilities,
the Bush Administration requested $69.6 million. "The Committee
recommendation includes $62,590,000 for the construction and major renovations
of the NIST campuses at Boulder, Colorado, and Gaithersburg, Maryland.
The Committee directs NIST to report to the Committees on Appropriations
on the progress of these construction projects on a quarterly basis
beginning with the second quarter of fiscal year 2004."