Senate Committee Approves FY 2016 NIST Appropriations

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Publication date: 
18 June 2015
Number: 
85

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s report for the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, now released to the public, recommends a 3.4 percent increase in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in FY 2016.  The committee report is the key document that details the Senate appropriators’ specific recommendations for NIST funding levels and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

The language for NIST can be found on pages 20-24 of the report.

Total NIST:

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 recommends $855.0 million, a decrease of $8.9 million or 1.0 percent
The Senate bill recommends $893.0 million, an increase of $29.1 million or 3.4 percent

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 recommends $675.0 million, essentially flat funding
The Senate bill recommends $684.7 million, an increase of $9.2 million or 1.4 percent

This section of the report includes language on multiple cybersecurity activities [p. 21], the creation of new centers of excellence in fields such as regenerative medicine and advanced photonics [p. 22], improving the disaster resilience of buildings [p. 22], standards for testing sports equipment [p. 22], and the Urban Dome program that conducts science in environmental monitoring and human health in urban areas [p. 22].  The Committee also makes it clear that management fees paid out to grant and cooperative agreement recipients are not to be used on lobbying, alcohol, or entertainment. [p. 22]

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 recommends $130.0 million, a decrease of $8.1 million or 5.9 percent
The Senate bill recommends $145.0 million, an increase of $6.9 million or 5.0 percent

This section of the report includes language on the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program, the Advanced Manufacturing Consortia, including for metals-based additive manufacturing, and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. [p. 23]

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 recommends $50.0 million, a decrease of $0.3 million or 0.6 percent
The Senate bill recommends $63.3 million, an increase of $13 million or 25.8 percent

Regarding NIST’s Radiation Physics Building, which was constructed as the first research facility on the Gaithersburg campus in 1962, the report states: “The Committee is disappointed that despite clear need and consistent urging from the Committee, no funding was requested to begin renovating Building 245, a 53-year-old radiation physics research laboratory that does not currently meet NIST’s research needs or safety requirements. NIST shall spend no less than $13 million to begin design and renovation of Building 245 in fiscal year 2016.

The committee report represents the views of the Senate appropriators, but its recommendations may or may not be reflected in the Joint Explanatory Statement that will accompany the final FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill.  Final outcomes on funding levels and directive language will depend on reconciliation between Senate and House bills and reports.