NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY:
The FY 2005 omnibus appropriations bill contains funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The outcome for NIST's programs was quite positive, with the notable exception of a large funding cut for the Advanced Technology Program.
Accompanying the bill is a Joint Explanatory Statement that provides the appropriators' final recommendations. Although these recommendations do not have the force of law, they are nevertheless usually followed by program directors. The statement explains that previous committee report language remains in force unless contradicted by later report language. The text of the House and Senate appropriations reports may be accessed at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app05.html . Selections from these reports appeared in http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/093.html and http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/123.html Excerpts from the Joint Explanatory Statement follow:
Total funding for NIST increased by 14.9 % or $90.8 million, from $608.5 million to $699.2 million. The Administration requested $521.5 million.
Scientific and Technical Research and Services:
The NIST laboratories and the Baldrige National Quality Program are funded under this budget category. Total funding increased 12.6% or $42.3 million from $336.5 million to $378.8 million. The Administration requested $422.9 million.
NIST laboratory funding increased 12.8% or $42.3 million from $331.0 million to $373.4 million. While a significant increase, this outcome is considerably less than the $417.5 million requested by President Bush. This latest bill is a reversal in fortune for the NIST laboratories, since its budget had been by $20 million between FY 2003 and FY 2004 because of overarching budget constraints.
Funding levels were specified for the laboratories; selections from the Statement follow:
Electronics and Electrical Engineering: The Administration requested $55.8 million. The final bill provides $48.9 million.
Physics: The Administration requested $42.2 million. The final bill provides $41.2 million.
Materials Science and Engineering: The Administration requested $62.7 million. The final bill provides $60.0 million.
"Within the funds made available for Electronics and Electrical Engineering, $4,000,000 is provided for the Office of Law Enforcement Standards [OLES] to fund the highest priority homeland security research projects. Projects managed by OLES are to be coordinated with the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, $1,000,000 is for a nanoelectronics initiative to support the development of semiconductor technologies."
"Within the funds made available for Manufacturing Engineering, $2,000,000 is for the nanomanufacturing initiative enabling critical infrastructural measurements and standards for the developing nanotechnology industry."
"Within the funds made available for Physics, $3,000,000 is for quantum computing. The conference agreement adopts language, as proposed by the Senate, regarding support of NIST's Nobel Laureates' efforts."
"Within the funds made available for Materials Science and Engineering, $6,000,000 is provided for upgrades to the National Center for Neutron Research in order to meet the increasing demand for this national scientific resource."
Also note that the Baldrige National Quality Program budget was reduced by -0.6% or -$35,000, from $5.4 million to (rounded) $5.4 million, essentially the Administration's request.
Industrial Technology Services:
There are two programs within this budget category: the Advanced Technology Program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Total funding rose by 19.3% or $40.2 million, from $207.8 million to $248.0 million. The Administration requested no money for ATP, resulting in a request of $39.2 million for only the Partnership program.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (MEP):
MEP funding rose 178.4% or $68.9 million, from $38.6 million to $107.5 million. The Administration requested $39.2 million.
"The conference agreement. . . . fully fund[s] all MEP centers. The conference agreement includes bill language prohibiting the Secretary of Commerce from recompeting any existing Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center prior to 2007. Federal support for the MEP program, combined with State and private sector funding, has translated into more jobs, more tax revenue, more exports, and a more secure supply source of consumer and defense goods. The MEP program is an economical and prudent means of assisting small manufacturers that want to remain in the United States, continue to hire American workers, and stay competitive in the global market place. Of the amounts provided, $3,000,000 is to ensure small and rural States receive necessary manufacturing assistance and services. The conferees have reviewed the Department of Commerce's report entitled, ‘Manufacturing in America' and its recommendations. The conferees do not support the report's recommendation to reorganize the MEP program around a regional approach. The conferees recognize that the original concept of 12 regional centers for MEP is not the best model to address the needs of small and medium-sized manufacturers. The conferees support MEP's expansion in order to equalize services to all types of manufacturers across the country. The conferees direct the Secretary of Commerce to provide the necessary coverage for small and medium-sized manufacturers. In addition, the conferees are concerned about the ability of small and rural States to provide adequate ‘matching' funds. The conferees direct MEP to develop a program, which will provide additional assistance to small and rural States and report back to the Committees on Appropriations by April 15, 2005, with an implementation plan.
"The conference agreement includes a new provision naming the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers the Hollings Centers.
"The conference agreement adopts, by reference, language in the House report regarding the requirements for applicants seeking assistance."
Advanced Technology Program:
Only the ATP budget in the NIST appropriation was cut significantly in the omnibus bill. Funding will fall by 17.0% or $28.7 million, from $169.1 million to $140.4 million. The Administration had requested no funding, a position adopted by the House. The Explanatory Statement states: "The conference agreement does not adopt bill language providing specific funding for new awards as proposed by the Senate."
Construction of Research Facilities:
The omnibus bill provides an increase of 12.8% or $8.3 million, from $64.3 million to $72.6 million for upgrades at the Gaithersburg and Boulder facilities. The Administration requested $59.4 million.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BIOMEDICAL IMAGING AND BIOENGINEERING (NIH)
A different section of the omnibus bill contained funding for NIBIB. The Institute's budget increases 3.3% or $9.5 million, from $288.8 million to $298.3 million. The Administration requested $297.7 million.
The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) was established in 2000. Its role is to promote and support multidisciplinary research, development, application and assessment of emerging and breakthrough technologies to facilitate understanding of biological processes and disease detection, management and prevention. The conference agreement does not include any explanatory language regarding NIBIB.