The House Appropriations Committee has proposed reducing spending levels at the National Institute of Standards and Technology by 1.0 percent in FY 2016.
On May 20, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill by voice vote. The bill is accompanied by a committee report, which provides guiding recommendations on programs, priorities, and appropriations levels for NIST and the other departments and agencies funded by this bill. The report represents the views of the House Appropriations Committee, although the committee’s recommendations may or may not be reflected in the Joint Explanatory Statement that will accompany the final appropriations bill. The final outcome will depend on the Senate’s recommendations as well as reconciliation between the Senate and House versions of the bill.
This FYI reviews selected NIST programs discussed on pages 12-14 of the committee report.
The FY 2015 appropriation was $863.9 million
The FY 2016 request is $1,119.7 million, an increase of $255.8 million or 29.6 percent
The House bill provides $855.0 million, a decrease of $8.9 million or 1.0 percent below current funding
The committee report cites concerns “about security-related issues at NIST, in particular potential inappropriate access of foreign nationals to NIST facilities and information systems.”
Scientific and Technical Research and Services:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $675.5 million
The FY 2016 request is $754.7 million, an increase of $79.2 million or 11.7 percent
The House bill provides $675.0 million, essentially the same level as current funding
The committee recommendation includes the requested increases for the Materials Genome Initiative; Disaster Resilient Buildings and Infrastructure; Strengthening NIST Cryptographic and Privacy Capabilities; and Quantum-Based Sensors and Measurements. With regards to the NIST’s initiative on windstorm impact reduction and research, the report states:
“As part of its efforts to improve the resiliency of buildings, NIST’s Engineering Division is encouraged to partner with academic research institutions that have expertise in the effects of natural disasters to replicate high-force windstorm impacts on buildings and test large, integrated models of such impacts.”
The committee recommendation does not provide funding for the lab-to-market program.
Industrial Technology Services:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $138.1 million
The FY 2016 request is $306.0, an increase of $167.9 million or 121.6 percent
The House bill provides $130.0 million, a decrease of $8.1 million or 5.9 percent below current funding
In reference to NIST’s advanced manufacturing initiative, the report states:
“The Committee encourages the Department [of Commerce]…to examine the possibility of establishing regional collaborative networks with advanced manufacturing communities that make full use of the Department’s [Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership] program centers involved in advanced manufacturing to ensure the participation of…the national laboratories in technology transfer….”
Construction of Research Facilities:
The FY 2015 appropriation was $50.3 million
The FY 2016 request is $59.0 million, an increase of $8.7 million or 17.3 percent
The House bill provides $50.0 million, a decrease of $0.3 million or 0.6 percent below current funding