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President Signs $657 Million FY 1999 Budget For Commerce's Technology Administration To Help Boost Economy

President Clinton yesterday signed into law an appropriations bill covering key technology partnering and policy programs carried out by the Commerce Department’s Technology Administration. The new law includes $656.6 million ($68.4 million under the President’s FY 1999 request or 91 percent) funding for the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology, the Office of Technology Policy, the Office of Space Commercialization, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST’s programs include the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Initially, Congress has approved the use of a portion of the FY 1999 appropriation through June 15, 1999.

Commerce Secretary William M. Daley said, "The Advanced Technology Program co-funds with industry the high-risk research that could have tremendous benefits for the broader economy. Total ATP appropriations are up and we will be able to provide first year funding for about 65 new projects."

The FY 1999 appropriation also includes $2.3 million ($0.7 million under the President’s FY 1999 request or 77 percent) for US/OTP to expand the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Technology. "EPSCoT will stimulate technology commercialization in eligible states by promoting partnerships between state governments, universities, community colleges, and the private sector—especially states not traditionally receiving significant federal research and development support," Daley said. EPSCoT is the technology counterpart to the National Science Foundation’s successful Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (abbreviated EPSCoR).

"I am delighted that this bill’s passage means that education and healthcare organizations now will be able to be full partners in the Baldrige National Quality Program, including applying to receive the Baldrige Award and sharing best practices with schools and healthcare providers around the country," Daley said. The program’s expansion is a joint private-public sector initiative proposed to Congress by the President. The private Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards has been raising funds for an endowment to support the expansion, but some federal funding is needed to manage the program.

Specific provisions of the appropriations law provide eight-and-one-half months of funding at the following annual levels:

Office of the Under Secretary for Technology/Office of Technology Policy

Total FY 1999 Appropriation: $9.5 million ($0.5 million under the President’s FY 1999 request or 95 percent)

In addition to the $2.3 million for EPSCoT, the FY 1999 budget will enable US/OTP to address critical Administration and congressional civilian technology priorities, including $7.2 million for:

  • coordinating the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, a collaboration between the federal government, the auto industry, universities and hundreds of suppliers to aggressively explore new technologies that will lead to cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles;
  • OTP’s role as the federal government’s primary advocate for innovation and industrial competitiveness, analyst of civilian industrial technology issues, and incubator of new models of domestic and international technology cooperation;
  • assisting in the development of a new National Space Policy; and
  • administering the National Medal of Technology.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Total FY 1999 Appropriation: $647.1 million ($67.9 million under the President’s FY 1999 request or 91 percent)

The FY 1999 appropriation for NIST is divided into three portions:

  • $280.1 million ($11.5 million under the President’s FY 1999 request or 96 percent) for efforts under the Scientific and Technical Research Services (STRS) appropriation that includes funding for two components: (1) the NIST Measurement and Standards Laboratories and (2) the National Quality Program, which helps U.S. companies to reach their full potential through the practice of quality strategies and performance excellence.
    • The STRS appropriation includes:
      • $275.2 million for the Measurement and Standards Laboratories ($11 million under the President’s FY 1999 request or 96 percent). Included in this      amount is funding for the following initiatives:
        • $1.8 million additional funding to provide new measurement tools and services for the semiconductor device, equipment and materials industries; and
        • $2.0 million additional funding to create the comprehensive structure of technical measurements and standards needed for international trade and to promote the global use of U.S. measurement and standards.
    • The STRS appropriation also features:
      • $4.9 million for the Baldrige National Quality Program ($0.5 million under the President’s FY 1999 request or 91 percent) that will permit NIST to establish and manage Baldrige awards for performance excellence in healthcare and education.
  • $310.3 million ($56.4 million under the President’s FY 1999 request or 85 percent) for technology development and industrial outreach under the Industrial Technology Services (ITS) appropriation that includes (1) cost-shared funding to industry for high-risk research and development through the Advanced Technology Program; and (2) more widely distributed services and expanded hands-on technical assistance to smaller manufacturers through a nationwide network of centers under the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
    • The ITS appropriation includes:
      • $203.5 million ($56.4 million under the President’s FY 1999 request or 78 percent) for the Advanced Technology Program, including $66 million for new awards in FY 1999.
      • $106.8 million (the President’s full FY 1999 request) for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to continue providing the federal share of funding needed to support the network of centers serving smaller manufacturers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
  • $56.7 million (the President’s full FY 1999 request) for improving NIST’s 30- to 45-year-old research facilities to ensure a safe working environment for NIST staff and the continued capability to provide U.S. industry and science with the best possible measurement system.

National Technical Information Service

NTIS, another TA agency, is fee-supported and had not requested appropriations in FY 1999.

NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: A detailed history of the FY 1999 budget process soon will be available on the World Wide Web at

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Released October 22, 1998, Updated January 8, 2018