Yesterday, the House of Representatives started its consideration
of H.R. 4754, the FY 2005 Commerce, Justice and State Appropriations
Bill. Funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology
is included in this bill. As it now stands, the budget for NIST's Laboratories
would increase by 13.5% over current funding. The numbers for NIST's
Industrial Technology Services are mixed: the Advanced Technology Program
would be terminated, while funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Program would increase 174.4%.
It is not uncommon for there to be variances in administration and
congressional budget documents. In this analysis, the Department of
Commerce's "Technology Administration Budget Summary FY 2003-2005"
cited in FYI #16
on the Bush Administration's FY 2005 NIST request is used as a baseline.
The Commerce table may be viewed at: http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/budget/2005_table.htm
Under this bill, total FY 2005 funding for NIST would be cut by $83.5
million or 13.7%, from $608.5 million to $525.0 million. The Bush Administration
requested $521.5 million.
The accompanying appropriations committee report, 108-576, outlines
the committee's recommendations regarding NIST's major programs. The
entire report can be accessed at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app05.html
Selections from this document pertaining to NIST follow:
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES: NIST LABORATORIES:
Under the House bill, funding for NIST laboratories would increase
by $44.8 million, or 13.5%, from $331.0 million to $375.8 million. The
Administration requested $417.5 million.
The report states:
"The Committee recommendation includes $338,657,000
and 1,831 positions to support the full base operating costs of the
core NIST programs, as requested. In addition, the Committee recommendation
includes programmatic increases totaling $37,181,000 for this account.
The Committee expects NIST to prioritize funding for programs associated
with standards and guidelines relating to the national security of
the United States, including efforts relating to biometric and cyber
security and programs relating to improvements to the nation's manufacturing
and services sectors. The Committee strongly urges NIST to give priority
consideration to Help America Vote Act outreach to the election community;
expediting work on a new voting standards accreditation program; and
its work with the Technical Guidelines Development Committee working
with the Election Assistance Commission. NIST is directed to provide
in advance of the fiscal year 2006 hearings a report detailing what
steps must be taken to bring its activities in line with the timetable
established by the Act. Further, the Committee directs NIST to provide
all necessary equipment for the Advanced Measurement Laboratory in
INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES:
NIST's Industrial Technology Services has two components: the Advanced
Technology Program (ATP) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Congressional funding for these programs has seen significant shifts.
MEP's budget in FY 2003 was $105.9 million. This was cut to $38.6 million
this year. As explained below, the House Appropriations Committee wants
to increase funding back to $106.0 million next year.
ATP has long been a target for spending cuts, and this year's decision
by the House Appropriations Committee to agree with the White House
that ATP should be terminated comes as no surprise. Expect Senator Ernest
Hollings (D-SC), a powerful member of the Senate Appropriations Committee,
to put ATP funding back in the final bill. Last year, the Administration
requested only $27 million for termination expenses; the House bill
contained no money. By the time the bill cleared Congress, this year's
ATP budget was $169.1 million.
The committee report states:
"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 effects, the Committee
recommendation includes $106,000,000 for this program in fiscal year
2005, which is $66,810,000 above the request and the current year.
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
"The Committee directs NIST to provide assistance to
an applicant under the MEP program only if the applicant agrees to
make available to the public on request their audited statements,
annual budgets, and minutes of meetings and agrees to provide the
public with reasonable notice of, and an opportunity to attend, their
meetings. The Committee further directs NIST to provide assistance
to an applicant under the MEP program only after the applicant files
appropriate Federal financial disclosure statements."
"Advanced Technology Program.--The Committee
adopts the President's request, and does not include funding for this
CONSTRUCTION OF RESEARCH FACILITIES
The Bush Administration requested $59.4 million for FY 2005.
The committee report states:
"The Committee recommendation includes $43,132,000 for
the construction and major renovations of the NIST campuses at Boulder,
Colorado, and Gaithersburg, Maryland."
Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics