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FYI Number 165: November 14, 2005

FY 2006 National Institute of Standards and Technology Funding Bill

One of the more surprising outcomes in this year's budget cycle for science and technology programs is contained in the below conference report language. Despite wide spread expectation that this would be the year that the Bush Administration would succeed in eliminating the Advanced Technology Program (ATP), there is almost $80.0 million for the program in FY 2006.

When Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC) retired, the survival of ATP seemed very much in doubt. Hollings was the chief defender of ATP in previous years, and this year the House again had agreed with the Administration to kill ATP.

However, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and his appropriations colleagues took a different approach, including $140.0 million for ATP in their version of H.R. 2862, the Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations Bill. ATP funding was maintained, although at a far lower figure, in the final version of the bill. In addition, dramatic cuts in the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program that were sought by the Administration were rejected. The final version of this bill, drafted by Shelby and his counterpart, House appropriations subcommittee chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and their staffs, has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. Selections from the conference report accompanying the bill, 109-272 follow. The entire report may be read at http://thomas.loc.gov/

The figures in the quoted report selections below, as was true for the NSF and NASA appropriations, must be reduced by 0.28% as required by a bookkeeping requirement in the bill. Figures that have been adjusted are so noted. In addition, all amounts are subject to further reduction (perhaps two to three percent), if Congress decides to offset hurricane reconstruction costs.

TOTAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY:

The FY 2005 budget was $699.2 million.
The Administration requested $532.0 million.
The new (tentative) adjusted budget is $759.7 million, an increase of 8.7% or $60.5 million. See an important note under construction funding below.

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES

The FY 2005 budget was $378.8 million.
The Administration requested $426.3 million.
The new (tentative) adjusted budget is $398.8 million, an increase of 5.3% or $20.0 million.

The conference report specifies funding levels for different programs within this budget. The report also states:

"The conference agreement includes, by reference, language in the Senate report regarding the Office of Law Enforcement Standards. The conference agreement also includes, by reference, language in the House report regarding the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, and international standards negotiations. (See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/088.html.)

"Within the funding for Research Support Activities, the conference agreement continues funding of $2,400,000 for a telework project and $6,500,000 for a critical infrastructure program, both of which received similar funding in previous fiscal years. The conference agreement also includes $1,027,000 for the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Program, $1,503,000 for the Nanoparticle Risk Impact and Assessment Program, and $612,000 for the Operation Safe Commerce Program. Finally, the amount for Research Support Activities includes $4,864,000 for high priority requested program increases, such as the National Nanomanufacturing and Nanometrology Facility, biosystems and health, and quantum processing initiatives."

HOLLINGS MANUFACTURING EXTENSION PARTNERSHIP:

The FY 2005 budget was $107.5 million.
The Administration requested $46.8 million.
The new (tentative) adjusted budget is $105.7 million, a cut of 1.7% or $1.8 million.

The report states: "The conference agreement adopts, by reference, language in the House report regarding the requirements for applicants seeking assistance." (See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/088.html.)

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM:

The FY 2005 budget was $136.5 million.
The Administration requested no funding.
The new (tentative) adjusted budget is $79.8 million, a cut of 41.6% or $56.7 million.

The report states: "The conference agreement does not adopt bill language providing specific funding for new awards as proposed by the Senate." (See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/104.html.)

CONSTRUCTION OF RESEARCH FACILITIES:

The FY 2005 budget was $72.5 million.
The Administration requested $58.9 million.
The new (tentative) (adjusted) budget is $175.4 million, an increase of 141.9% or $102.9 million.

"The conference agreement includes $48,898,000 for maintenance, repair, construction and major renovations of the NIST campuses at Boulder, CO, and Gaithersburg, MD. The conferees provide $35,498,000 for safety, capacity, maintenance, and major repairs, including not less than $5,000,000 for Advanced Measurement Lab maintenance; $9,400,000 for central utility plant upgrades for the Boulder, CO campus; and $4,000,000 for the NIST North relocation and remediation project. The balance of funds under this heading is allocated to activities specified in section 207." Section 207 of this bill lists ten earmarks with a total value of $127 million.

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

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