H.R. 5035, To Reauthorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and for other purposes

H.R. 5035

To Reauthorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Date
July 22, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 5035, a bill to reauthorize the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and for other purposes, under a suspension of the rules.  H.R. 5035 was introduced on July 9, 2014 by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and referred to the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5035 reauthorizes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for fiscal year 2015 at a funding level of $855.8 million.  The authorization levels are consistent with levels adopted in the house-passed Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act for FY 2015.  Specifically, for fiscal year 2015, the bill authorizes:

  • $670.5 million for scientific and technical research and services laboratory activities
  • $55.3 million for construction and maintenance of facilities
  • $130 million for industrial technology services activities, of which $130 million shall be for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program, authorized under sections 25 and 26 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 278k and 278l).

This legislation also amends the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act to allow the Director of the NIST to support, promote, and coordinate activities and efforts “to enhance public awareness and understanding of measurement sciences, standards, and technology by the general public, industry, and academic, in support of the Institute’s mission,” through research fellowships and a post-doctoral fellowship programs.  Moreover, this legislation requires the Director of the NIST, within six months of enactment, to enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a single, comprehensive review of the Institute’s laboratory programs.  The NIST is also required to contract with the National Research Council to perform an assessment of the technical quality and impact of the work conducted at Institute laboratories.

H.R. 5035 also requires the Secretary of Commerce to maintain support of manufacturing extension centers known as “Hollings Manufacturing Extension Centers,” for the transfer of manufacturing technology and best business practices.  Finally, this legislation eliminates two obsolete reports and makes modifications to grants and cooperative agreements.

Background

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), formerly known as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), was mandated under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (P.L 100-418) to “provide technical services to facilitate the competitiveness of U.S. industry,” in addition to its responsibility to “develop and maintain standards and measurement support for scientific investigations, engineering, manufacturing, and commerce and educational institutions.”[1]  The NIST typically performs research and development within NIST laboratory facilities, the Institute administers the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).[2]  This legislation reauthorizes the NIST, allowing it to continue to fulfill its Congressionally-mandated priorities, while implementing reforms and programs that will improve the effectiveness of the Institute.  The NIST was last authorized in fiscal year 2013.

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[1] Wendy H. Schacht, “The National Institute of Standards and Technology: An Appropriations Overview,” Congressional Research Service (Nov. 20, 2013), at 1.
[2] Id at 1.

Cost

This legislation would cost $850 million for fiscal year 2014 and $855.8 million for fiscal year 2015, assuming the availability of appropriated funds.  This legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.