Last week, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) postponed the Senate's scheduled consideration of H.R. 2862, the FY 2006 Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. The House and Senate are both responding to the devastation along the Gulf Coast, throwing this month's tight schedule for a number of important bills into disarray. The Senate will be considering H.R. 2862 today and into this week. The House passed its version of this bill almost three months ago.
On July 22, the Senate confirmed William Alan Jeffrey as the new director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In a NIST press release, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez declared that Jeffrey "brings a strong background in science and technology policy and the practicalities of research management to one of our nation's finest research laboratories and an institution whose work affects almost every aspect of our daily lives."
The House of Representatives is debating H.R. 2862, the FY 2006 Science, State, Justice, Commerce appropriations bill on the floor today. House Report 109-118 was released yesterday with the committee's recommendations for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The NIST core research program would receive a budget increase of 6.5% under this bill written by appropriations subcommittee chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and his colleagues. Significantly higher funding would be provided for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program than that requested by the Bush Administration.
Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards of the House Science Committee (see http://www.house.gov/science/committeeinfo/members/environment/index.htm ). In this role, he recently appeared before the newly established House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and Commerce and Related Agencies, chaired by Rep.
The budget for the National Institute of Standards and Technology would continue to fluctuate under the FY 2006 request that the Bush Administration sent to Congress this week. The overall budget would fall 23.5%, a program would be cancelled, and funding for another program would be cut by over one-half, while one program would see a sizeable increase in funding next year.
The historic FY 2007 budget increases proposed for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, National Science Foundation, and research programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, are slipping away. On Monday, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Rep. David Obey (D-WI) announced their support of legislation that in almost all cases would keep funding flat, and in other instances reduce or eliminate funding, for almost every federal department or agency through September 30, 2007.
During the debate on the FY 2007 Science, State, Justice and Commerce Appropriations bill, House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) gave high praise to the FY 2007 Science, State, Justice, and Commerce appropriations bill. This legislation, H.R. 5672, was written by Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA), Ranking Member Alan Mollohan (D-WV), and their colleagues and subcommittee staff. Boehlert's remarks follow:
The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed with the Bush Administration and the House of Representatives and recommended full funding of the 18.6% requested increase in FY 2007 for the National Institute of Standards and Technology's laboratory research program, and the termination of the Advanced Technology Program.
The House Appropriations Committee on June 20 passed its FY 2007 appropriations bill for Science, State, Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies. According to a draft version of the bill and its accompanying committee report, the committee recommended an FY 2007 funding level of $627.0 million for NIST. Although greater than President Bush's request, this level is nearly 16 percent lower than NIST's FY 2006 appropriation.
As one of the components of President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative, NIST would get a substantial increase in funding for its in-house laboratories under the FY 2007 budget request. At the same time, the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program would be cut by more than half, and the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) would be zeroed out. Total NIST funding would decline by 22.7%, to $581.3 million. However, the FY 2006 budget included $137.2 million congressionally-directed earmarks.