WASHINGTON-Any attempt to torpedo $490 million from the 1996 federal budget by cutting the Advanced Technology Program will not take place before June 28, when the House Science Committee reviews the program's funding. Any Science Committee cut in ATP could be replaced almost immediately by the commerce subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, now scheduled to consider funding authorization the following week.
Included in President Clinton's ATP funding request was a total of $160 million for composites research and development.
Michael Newman, a spokesman for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., expressed disappointment that the Science Committee's technology subcommittee ``did not put any numbers into'' NIST appropriations for ATP or the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The committee's action, by recommending ``such sums as may be appropriated'' instead of recommending specific funding levels, makes it easier for the Science Committee to eliminate the programs, he said.
House Science Committee Chairman Robert Walker, R-Pa., repeatedly has announced his intention to cut ATP. Walker's latest broadside was his revelation, along with Science Committee Democratic leader George E. Brown Jr. of California, that a Government Accounting Office report shows ATP may ``create false expectations of the program's economic success.''