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Senate Appropriations subcommittee markup would boost NIST spending

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A Senate Appropriations subcommittee marked up July 16 a spending bill for the coming fiscal year that would fund the National Institute of Standards and Technology with $948 million, an amount approximately $14 million more than in the White House proposal.

That amount would also be $141 million above the fiscal 2013 enacted level considerably more than the $784 million equivalent House Appropriations subcommittee would appropriate for NIST under its marked up version of the fiscal 2014 Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill.

A Senate Appropriations Committee statement says their markup provides $33 million more for the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership than the House subcommittee, which would appropriate $120 million for the effort.

The overall greater topline would mean "increased research in NIST labs on cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, forensic science," the Senate statement adds.

In addition, the Senate subcommittee would appropriate $7.4 billion for the National Science Foundation, $430 million more than the House level. That would translate into 1,350 more research grants support for 15,500 "more technicians, researchers, students, teachers."

The chances of individual spending bills becoming law this year are complicated by the fact that the two chambers of Congress are working from different budget blueprints; the House is working from a budget that would total $966.9 billion in discretionary spending (not including emergency disaster spending), the amount called for by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Senate, however, is working from a $1.058 trillion budget (also not including emergency disaster spending) that waives the Budget Control Act cap.

The two sides have not met in a conference committee to reconcile their differing toplines, due to Tea Party Senate Republicans who have blocked appointment of conference members. The White House has issued a series of veto threats against House-approved spending bills, setting the stage for a fall showdown that could be made more urgent by the Treasury reaching the debt limit for borrowing between October and December.

For more:
- go to the Senate Appropriates statement on the subcommittee mark up of the fiscal 2014 Commerce, Justice, Science bill

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