Proposed WWV cuts ignored by Congress

In February, NIST proposed drastic cuts to its FY2019 budget, including shutdown of time-and-frequency stations WWV, WWVB and WWVH.
This has raised concerns on social media, echoed by the ARRL.

However, the U.S. Congress, which appropriates all funds for the Federal budget, has so far turned a deaf ear to the proposal. Though it is early in the annual budget process, both the House and Senate seem inclined to increase NIST’s funding for cybersecurity, limit NIST’s big construction budget to one year, and otherwise make only minor changes in the agency’s funding.

Measurement dissemination by the WWV stations falls under “Laboratory Programs,” part of the awkwardly named Scientific and Technical Research and Services division. Multi-agency appropriations bills reported out of committee to the floor of each chamber, H.R. 5952 and S. 3072,call for no changes in lab program funding. A separate NIST reauthorization bill, H.R. 6229, calls for increases to expand lab programs into new area.

For several years, Congress has passed budget bills months after the October 1 start of the government’s fiscal year. This year looks to be no exception. So far, though, Congress has shown little appetite for cuts to any science or technology program.

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