NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY:
The FY 2005 omnibus appropriations bill contains funding for the National
Institute of Standards and Technology. The outcome for NIST's programs
was quite positive, with the notable exception of a large funding cut
for the Advanced Technology Program.
Accompanying the bill is a Joint Explanatory Statement that provides
the appropriators' final recommendations. Although these recommendations
do not have the force of law, they are nevertheless usually followed
by program directors. The statement explains that previous committee
report language remains in force unless contradicted by later report
language. The text of the House and Senate appropriations reports may
be accessed at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app05.html
. Selections from these reports appeared in http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/093.html
Excerpts from the Joint Explanatory Statement follow:
Total funding for NIST increased by 14.9 % or $90.8 million, from $608.5
million to $699.2 million. The Administration requested $521.5 million.
Scientific and Technical Research and Services:
The NIST laboratories and the Baldrige National Quality Program are
funded under this budget category. Total funding increased 12.6% or
$42.3 million from $336.5 million to $378.8 million. The Administration
requested $422.9 million.
NIST laboratory funding increased 12.8% or $42.3 million from $331.0
million to $373.4 million. While a significant increase, this outcome
is considerably less than the $417.5 million requested by President
Bush. This latest bill is a reversal in fortune for the NIST laboratories,
since its budget had been by $20 million between FY 2003 and FY 2004
because of overarching budget constraints.
Funding levels were specified for the laboratories; selections from
the Statement follow:
Electronics and Electrical Engineering: The Administration requested
$55.8 million. The final bill provides $48.9 million.
Physics: The Administration requested $42.2 million. The final bill
provides $41.2 million.
Materials Science and Engineering: The Administration requested $62.7
million. The final bill provides $60.0 million.
"Within the funds made available for Electronics and Electrical
Engineering, $4,000,000 is provided for the Office of Law Enforcement
Standards [OLES] to fund the highest priority homeland security research
projects. Projects managed by OLES are to be coordinated with the Department
of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, $1,000,000
is for a nanoelectronics initiative to support the development of semiconductor
"Within the funds made available for Manufacturing Engineering,
$2,000,000 is for the nanomanufacturing initiative enabling critical
infrastructural measurements and standards for the developing nanotechnology
"Within the funds made available for Physics, $3,000,000 is
for quantum computing. The conference agreement adopts language, as
proposed by the Senate, regarding support of NIST's Nobel Laureates'
"Within the funds made available for Materials Science and
Engineering, $6,000,000 is provided for upgrades to the National Center
for Neutron Research in order to meet the increasing demand for this
national scientific resource."
Also note that the Baldrige National Quality Program budget was reduced
by -0.6% or -$35,000, from $5.4 million to (rounded) $5.4 million, essentially
the Administration's request.
Industrial Technology Services:
There are two programs within this budget category: the Advanced Technology
Program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Total funding rose
by 19.3% or $40.2 million, from $207.8 million to $248.0 million. The
Administration requested no money for ATP, resulting in a request of
$39.2 million for only the Partnership program.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (MEP):
MEP funding rose 178.4% or $68.9 million, from $38.6 million to $107.5
million. The Administration requested $39.2 million.
"The conference agreement. . . . fully fund[s] all MEP centers.
The conference agreement includes bill language prohibiting the Secretary
of Commerce from recompeting any existing Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Center prior to 2007. Federal support for the MEP program, combined
with State and private sector funding, has translated into more jobs,
more tax revenue, more exports, and a more secure supply source of consumer
and defense goods. The MEP program is an economical and prudent means
of assisting small manufacturers that want to remain in the United States,
continue to hire American workers, and stay competitive in the global
market place. Of the amounts provided, $3,000,000 is to ensure small
and rural States receive necessary manufacturing assistance and services.
The conferees have reviewed the Department of Commerce's report entitled,
Manufacturing in America' and its recommendations. The conferees
do not support the report's recommendation to reorganize the MEP program
around a regional approach. The conferees recognize that the original
concept of 12 regional centers for MEP is not the best model to address
the needs of small and medium-sized manufacturers. The conferees support
MEP's expansion in order to equalize services to all types of manufacturers
across the country. The conferees direct the Secretary of Commerce to
provide the necessary coverage for small and medium-sized manufacturers.
In addition, the conferees are concerned about the ability of small
and rural States to provide adequate matching' funds. The conferees
direct MEP to develop a program, which will provide additional assistance
to small and rural States and report back to the Committees on Appropriations
by April 15, 2005, with an implementation plan.
"The conference agreement includes a new provision naming the
Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers the Hollings Centers.
"The conference agreement adopts, by reference, language in
the House report regarding the requirements for applicants seeking assistance."
Advanced Technology Program:
Only the ATP budget in the NIST appropriation was cut significantly
in the omnibus bill. Funding will fall by 17.0% or $28.7 million, from
$169.1 million to $140.4 million. The Administration had requested no
funding, a position adopted by the House. The Explanatory Statement
states: "The conference agreement does not adopt bill language
providing specific funding for new awards as proposed by the Senate."
Construction of Research Facilities:
The omnibus bill provides an increase of 12.8% or $8.3 million, from
$64.3 million to $72.6 million for upgrades at the Gaithersburg and
Boulder facilities. The Administration requested $59.4 million.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BIOMEDICAL IMAGING AND BIOENGINEERING (NIH)
A different section of the omnibus bill contained funding for NIBIB.
The Institute's budget increases 3.3% or $9.5 million, from $288.8 million
to $298.3 million. The Administration requested $297.7 million.
The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
was established in 2000. Its role is to promote and support multidisciplinary
research, development, application and assessment of emerging and breakthrough
technologies to facilitate understanding of biological processes and
disease detection, management and prevention. The conference agreement
does not include any explanatory language regarding NIBIB.