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"Taken from HRpt 106-680
FY 2001 original Commerce, Justice, State House report…"

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY

The Committee recommends a total of $422,892,000 for the appropriations accounts under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for fiscal year 2001. The recommendation is $290,099,000 below the budget request, and a decrease of $216,090,000 below the amount appropriated for fiscal year 2000. A description of each account and the Committee recommendation follows:

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES

The Committee has provided $292,056,000 for the Scientific and Technical Research and Services (core programs) appropriation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This amount is $8,924,000 above the amount provided in fiscal year 2000 and $45,452,000 below the budget request.

The Committee notes that, in an era of declining budgets, the core programs of NIST have enjoyed significant support, receiving continued program increases. Overall funding for these programs has grown from $240,000,000 in fiscal year 1995 to $283,000,000 in fiscal year 2000. The Committee understands the importance of the research done by this agency, and recommends funding to maintain the current level of operations.

The following is a breakdown of the amounts provided under this account by activity.

[In thousands of dollars]

 
FY00 Enacted
FY01 Request
FY01 Recommendation
Electronics and Electrical
$38,771
$40,046
$40,127
Manufacturing Engineering
19,560
23,782
19,821
Chemical
32,493
33,295
33,360
Physics
28,697
39,454
29,556
Building and Fire Research
15,331
13,888
16,484
Materials Science and Engineering
52,010
58,986
54,658
Computer Applied Mathematics
45,352
56,347
45,551
Technology Assistance
17,723
17,197
17,349
Baldridge Quality Awards
4,958
5,191
5,913
Research Support
29,237
49,322
29,237
(Deobligations)
(1,000)
 
 
Total, STRS
283,132
337,508
292,056

The recommendation provides funding for all activities at the requested fiscal year 2001 base level. This includes the current year level of funding to continue the disaster research program on effects of windstorms. The recommendation does not include any program increases. Further, the Committee continues its directive included in previous years regarding the placement of additional NIST personnel or support for foreign service nationals overseas.

INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES

The Committee recommends $104,836,000 for the Industrial Technology Services appropriation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This amount is $142,600,000 below the current year appropriation, and $234,768,000 below the budget request.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program- The Committee has included $104,836,000 for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program, the same amount provided in the current year. This recommendation includes the expectation that funding is provided for the centers and not for new initiatives.

Advanced Technology Program- The Committee recommends no funding for the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) in fiscal year 2001. The budget included a request of $198,600,000 for fiscal year 2001, and $142,600,000 was provided in fiscal year 2000.

The advocates for the ATP program have always had to answer a number of fundamental questions, such as whether the program achieved results that could not be achieved through the private marketplace; whether it funded technology development and commercialization that would not be undertaken but for the existence of the program; and whether the Federal government should play a role in picking technologies to be developed and then funding that development at substantial government expense, for example.

After many years in existence, the program has not produced a body of evidence to overcome those fundamental questions about whether the program should exist in the first place. Given the tremendous financial constraints under which the Committee is operating, the question becomes whether it is worthwhile to continue to fund a program of questionable value, particularly one that costs $200,000,000 a year.

With many other priorities facing the Committee and funding constraints as they are, the Committee concludes that funding would be better spent on higher priority programs and recommends that the ATP program be terminated.

CONSTRUCTION OF RESEARCH FACILITIES

The Committee recommendation includes $26,000,000 for construction, renovation, and maintenance of NIST facilities. In the current year, the Committee approved the final construction plan for the Advanced Measurement Laboratory and has provided the full request for the construction of the laboratory. In addition, the Committee has provided a level of funding comparable to the current year level for NIST to address the backlog of safety, capacity, maintenance, and major repair projects in the Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado, sites. The recommendation does not provide program increases under the Safety, Capacity, Maintenance, and Major Repair heading.

Should construction requirements change, the Committee would entertain a reprogramming request subject to the requirements of Section 205 of this Act.

Bill language requiring submission of a financial plan is deleted

This account supports all NIST activities by providing the facilities necessary to carry out the NIST mission. The Institute has proposed a multiyear effort to renovate NIST's current buildings and laboratory facilities in compliance with more stringent science and engineering program requirements.