Late last week, the House and Senate completed work on the Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Bill for FY 2002. The budgets for the physics-related in-house laboratories at the National Institute of Standards and Technology did not increase significantly. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership program received a somewhat higher boost, while the Advanced Technology Program budget rose by almost 27%.
The Bush Administration has submitted an FY 2003 request for the National Institute of Standards and Technology that calls for large increases in some programs, and large cuts in others. Total NIST funding would decline 15.2%, or $103.2 million, from $680.8 million to $577.5 million.
There are three major components of the NIST budget. Funding for Scientific & Technical Research & Services (STRS) would increase 23.5%, while the budget would fall 58.5% for Industrial Technology Services (ITS). The budget for Construction of Research Facilities would decline 14.3%.
As explained in FYI #157, the seven remaining unfinished appropriations bills have been combined into a massive omnibus funding bill, H.R. 2673. The following are selections from H. Rept. 108-401 pertaining to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the NIH Roadmap Initiative, and the Math-Science Partnership Program within the Department of Education.
Last month, Senate appropriators voted to restore funding for NIST's Advanced Technology Program in their version of the FY 2004 Commerce, Justice and State appropriations bill, S. 1585. The Senate Appropriations Committee would provide more funding for NIST than what was asked for in the Administration's request and recommended in the House-passed version of the bill, H.R. 2799.
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 FY 2004 request of $496.8 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology represents a significant decline of 27.0% from the FY 2002 appropriations and of 14.0% from the FY 2003 request. This year's request would provide funding for new initiatives in homeland security and economic growth, while terminating the Advanced Technology Program and halting federal funding for Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers after the first six years, continuing a policy announced in last year's request.
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.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives started its consideration of H.R. 4754, the FY 2005 Commerce, Justice and State Appropriations Bill. Funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology is included in this bill. As it now stands, the budget for NIST's Laboratories would increase by 13.5% over current funding. The numbers for NIST's Industrial Technology Services are mixed: the Advanced Technology Program would be terminated, while funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program would increase 174.4%.
Industry witnesses at a recent hearing of the House Environment, Technology and Standards Subcommittee extolled the importance of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, with one calling it "a key leader in our nation's innovation engine." Despite high praise for NIST on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, a significant cut in this year's budget could lead to 100 employees being separated from its Maryland and Colorado facilities by the end of September.
The Bush Administration's FY 2005 budget request contains significant increases and decreases for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. If enacted, NIST's total budget would decline $89,258,000, or 14.6%. Within this request, NIST's laboratories would see a sizeable increase, while funding for the Advanced Technology Program would be eliminated.