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House Passes Commerce Appropriation Bill

July 26, 1996

The U.S. House of Representatives on a vote of 246-179 on Wednesday approved an appropriations bill that includes funding for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Programs affected by the bill include the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and Advanced Technology Program (ATP), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Information Infrastructure Grants (IIG).


President's Request



ATP $221.0 million $345 million $110.5 million MEP $80.0 million $105 million $ 89.9 million IIG $21.5 million $ 59 million $ 21.4 million

The funding for MEP provides the full amount requested for continuation of existing centers, including the rollover costs of 15 centers originally funded under the Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP). The bill does not include language removing the current six year statutory limit for federal funding to centers. Failure to repeal the language will eliminate federal funding to the MidAmerica Manufacturing Technology Center (serving Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, and Wyoming) and the Midwest Manufacturing Technology Center (serving Michigan).

Funding for ATP could not be used, including prior year carryover, for new competitions. According to the House report,"The recommendation provides sufficient funding to pay the continuation costs of awards previously made to small businesses..." According to NIST, the provision would take funding from 25-30 individual medium/large company partners and 15 joint ventures consisting of only medium/large companies.

The appropriations bill is expected to be considered by the Senate committee on Thursday, August 1.