Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program: An Overview [Updated October 20, 2006] [open pdf - 39KB]
"The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, P.L. 100-418, created a program of regional centers to assist small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in using knowledge and technologies developed under the auspices of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a laboratory of the Department of Commerce. Now known as the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico provide technical and managerial assistance to firms. Federal funding is matched by non-federal sources. As the program expanded, funding increased until FY1999, when support declined reflecting a decrease in the federal portion of financing from one-half to one-third as individual centers operated longer than six years. Through FY2004, funding remained fairly constant despite the Administration's FY2003 budget that proposed an 88% reduction in support such that MEP centers '... with more than six years' experience operate without federal contribution.' Support was cut 63% in FY2004, but restored in FY2005. The $46.8 million for MEP in the President's FY2006 budget proposal reflected another substantial reduction in funding; however, P.L. 109-108, the FY2006 appropriations legislation, provided financing of $104.6 million for the program (after mandated rescissions). The Administration's FY2007 budget again includes a large cut in support for MEP which would be funded at $46.3 million. H.R. 5672, the FY2007 appropriations bill that passed the House on June 29, 2006, finances the program at $92 million. The version of this bill reported from the Senate Committee on Appropriations provides MEP with $106 million."
CRS Report for Congress, 97-104