Washington DC – Today, the Committee on Science and Technology passed two comprehensive authorizations, H.R. 1867, the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2007 and H.R. 1868, the Technology Innovation and Manufacturing Stimulation Act of 2007.  H.R 1867 authorizes funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) through fiscal year 2010, while H.R. 1868 does the same for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  Both agencies were targeted by the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) to have their budgets doubled within ten years, and the authorizations passed today are consistent with that initiative and aim to advance American competitiveness and innovation.  Both authorizations passed by voice vote with improvements to the legislation from several republican amendments.

“I am very pleased that the Science and Technology Committee passed two authorizations that are so critical to our nation’s global competitiveness,” said Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX).  “The NSF authorization includes funding for many programs to assist young researchers to ensure Americans stay on the cutting edge of innovation.  Other nations around the world are investing generously in basic research, threatening U.S. preeminence in the global economy, and H.R. 1867 will help us remain on top.”

H.R. 1867 supports American competitiveness by providing funding authorizations for new programs to advance the ACI.  One such authorization is a new pilot program of grants for young investigators to stimulate higher-risk research.  The bill also contains provisions to encourage NSF to foster relationships between NSF, academia and industry, in order facilitate the transfer of basic research into commercialization.  H.R. 1867 also increases funding for NSF education programs such as H.R. 362, 10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds Math and Science Scholarship Act, that passed the House yesterday with bipartisan support.

Subcommittee on Research and Science Education Ranking Member Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) commended the work at NSF, saying, “I think everyone on this Committee understands the importance of NSF research, which results in technologies that are later applied by other agencies. NSF is also a key supporter of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and now, more than ever, we must invest in our children’s education to develop their talent, ensure their success, and maintain the quality of our workforce and the strength of our economy.”

H.R. 1868, which authorizes funding at NIST, also includes provisions to promote competitiveness, such as increased funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which is a public-private partnership aimed at stimulating new manufacturing processes and technologies in the private sector.  The bill also provides funding for the Technology Innovation Program (TIP), a remodeled version of the Advanced Technology Partnership (ATP), which was eliminated in the President’s budget request.  TIP funds high-risk technology development, focusing on small and medium-sized companies.

“H.R.1868 supports the President’s ACI by setting NIST’s lab budget on a path to double by fiscal year 2017,” Hall said.  “Also, the bill will ensure America’s small and medium-sized manufacturers have access to the latest technologies and processes by authorizing the MEP Program.”

Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation Ranking Member Phil Gingrey (R-GA) echoed praise for H.R. 1868, saying, “Funding NIST research is a critical way we can help cutting-edge technologies make the leap from basic research to successful commercial products.  Last year, President Bush’s American Competitiveness Initiative provided our nation with a vision to maintain America’s position in the global marketplace, and H.R. 1868 will help us fulfill that vision.”