As it has tried to do many times in the past (see FYI #80in 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 stated:
"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."