By a vote of 327 to 93, the House sent to the Senate a bill (HR 4329) authorizing nearly $1 billion over three years for programs to keep America a leader in technology. The bill reauthorized the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which regulates weights and measures, and funded government research to benefit specific enterprises such as steel.
Its most disputed feature was funding of the Advanced Technology Program, which provides federal grants to help entrepreneurs develop new technologies. The bill authorized nearly $400 million over three years for ATP, compared to only $10 million annually recommended by President Bush, who prefers private funding of such ventures.
Supporter Robert A. Roe (D-N.J.) said the government "cannot afford to wait one minute longer" to keep America competitive with the Japanese and Europeans.
Opponent Robert S. Walker (R-Pa.) said spending too much on ATP means "trading off core research for essentially a new program that in some cases could be handouts."