There were only a few lines of commendation in a four page "Statement of Administration Policy" issued by the Office of Management and Budget on the House FY 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill. The Administration criticized both the provisions of this legislation and its price tag, and warned, "if H.R. 3093 were presented to the President, he would veto the bill."
The House of Representatives took parts of two days last week to consider the FY 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill. Although numerous amendments were offered to the $53.8 billion bill, few changes were made to the bill's provisions pertaining to the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Attention now turns to the Senate floor, where consideration of this bill will await the Senate's return in September from its recess that starts on Friday.
The House Appropriations Committee has recommended a 15.0 percent increase in the FY 2008 budget for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The committee fully funded the request for Scientific and Technical Research and Services, rejected (as did the Senate) the proposed termination of the Advanced Technology Program, and recommended $35 million in new funding for competitive grants for research science buildings at universities and non-profit science research organizations.
The FY 2008 budget for the National Institute of Standards and Technology would increase by 27.5 percent in a bill that has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and sent to the floor.
S. 1745 provides funding for three agencies supporting physical sciences research: NIST, the National Science Foundation, and NASA. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is the chair of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee; Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is the Ranking Member. The House has not released its version of this bill.
The House Science and Technology Committee has been very active this year. In addition to a full slate of weekly hearings, it has been successful in writing and then winning bipartisan passage on the House floor of several education and authorization bills. The latest committee bill approved by the House was H.R. 1868, the Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act.
Congressional hearings have revealed considerable disagreement with the Bush Administration's request to reduce or eliminate FY 2008 funding for two National Institute of Standards and Technology programs that assist in the development of new technologies. Despite the recommendation that the Advanced Technology Program be terminated in FY 2008, NIST announced a competition last week for $60 million in FY 2007 awards for "technically challenging, high-risk research that has the potential for broad national benefit."
As has been the case in recent years, President Bush's FY 2008 budget request for the National Institute of Standards and Technology would favor NIST's in-house laboratories with a significant increase, while minimally funding the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP) and zeroing out the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). NIST's Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), which comprises the NIST laboratories and the Baldrige National Quality Award, would receive a 7.2% increase over the FY 2007 request.
Yesterday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted to substantially increase FY 2007 funding for the Department of Energy Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. H.J. Resolution 20 now goes to the Senate, with the intention to get this bill on the President’s desk before current funding expires on February 15.
As previously noted, the House Appropriations Committee released House Committee Report 110-919 accompanying H.R. 7322, the FY 2009 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill. This report provides the appropriators' recommendations for, among other programs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation and NASA. The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-VA); the Ranking Member is Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ).
The Senate Appropriations Committee's version of the FY 2009 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill has been sent to the Senate floor. This $57.9 billion bill (S. 3182) includes funding for the National Science Foundation, NASA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Below are recommended funding levels and excerpts from Senate Report 110-397 pertaining to NIST. See this site for the text of the entire report.