The House of Representatives is expected to give its final approval
today to the Commerce Department appropriation for FY 1996,
followed by the Senate. The bill, H.R. 2076, is almost certain to
be vetoed by President Clinton. The following is some of the fine
print from the conference report (House Report 104-378) pertaining
to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
NIST's appropriation is broken down into three major categories:
Scientific and Technical Research and Services, Industrial
Technology Services, and Construction of Research Facilities. The
conference committee recommends the following budgets:
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES:
This budget is for NIST's "core" programs at its laboratories in
Maryland and Colorado. Last year's budget was $247.49 million.
The Administration requested $310.70 million, an increase of $63.21
million, or 25.5%.
The conferees recommend an FY 1996 budget of $259.00 million. This
is an increase of $11.51 million, or 4.7%, over last year.
INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES:
One reason the President will likely veto this bill is that it
contains no new funding for one of his administration's major
priorities, the Advanced Technology Program (ATP). Seeking to end
any new ATP competitions, the report states: "...none of the funds
made available under this heading in this or any other Act may be
used for the purposes of carrying out additional program
competitions under the Advanced Technology Program: Provided
further, That any unobligated balances available from carryover of
prior year appropriations [in other words, unspent money] may be
used only for the purposes of providing continuation grants."
Last year's ATP budget was $430.4 million. The Administration
requested $490.9 million.
Another program under this budget category, the Manufacturing
Extension Partnership (MEP), had a budget last year of $90.6
million. The Administration requested $146.6 million, an increase
of $56.00 million, or 61.8%, over last year.
Conferees recommend an MEP FY 1996 budget of $80.0 million. This
is a decline of $10.6 million, or 11.7%, from last year.
CONSTRUCTION OF NEW FACILITIES:
The Administration requested $69.91 million. The conference report
recommends $60.00 million.
NOTE: While provisions for transferring funds to "appropriate
successor organizations" are provided in this act if the Commerce
Department is dismantled, the report does not call for