H.R. 554: National Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act of 2009

H.R. 554

National Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act of 2009

Date
February 10, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 554 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Representative Bart Gordon (D-TN) on January 15, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 554 makes changes to various aspects of the planning and implementation of the 2001 National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). For example, the bill strengthens the environmental, health and safety research component of the NNI and increases emphasis on technology transfer and commercialization of research results from the program.

The bill also requires NNI to develop a strategic plan within twelve months of enactment with detailed objectives and funding targets to guide nanotechnology initiatives. The plan must be updated every three years thereafter. The bill also requires the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office to develop a public database of funded projects.

H.R. 554 establishes nanotechnology education partnerships to prepare high school students to pursue college education in nanotechnology. The measure requires the NNI to include within its education program activities to support nanotechnology undergraduate education.

The bill also expands the use of nanotechnology facilities by companies to develop products, devices and processes. Finally, H.R. 554 requires the Director of the Nanotechnology Coordination Office to report to Congress every three years on ways to improve the NNI's management and coordination processes.

 

Background

On June 5, 2008, the House passed similar legislation to this bill by a vote of 407-6 (H.R. 5940).  That bill was never considered by the Senate.  Only funding dates for programs in the bill have been altered.

Nanotechnology refers to the applied science of very small (1 to 100 nanometers) devices and structures, including computer hard drives, alternative energy, landmine detectors, ink and water filtration, as well as sunscreens and cosmetics.

Established in 2001, the National Nanotechnology Initiative is a program involving 13 federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Energy and Commerce.  The multi-agency program aims to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of nanometer-scale science and technology.

President George W. Bush's 2006 American Competitiveness Initiative aims to maintain American global economic competitiveness through investment in research and development (R&D) and education.

Cost

There is no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score available for this bill, but CBO estimated that last year's bill would cost $5 million over a five year period.