Earlier today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed its version of the National Nanotechnology Initiative reauthorization amendments, H.R. 554. The passage was by "voice vote," meaning there is no record of who may have voted for or against the reauthorization. This is the next step towards complete reauthorization of the NNI.
According to the House Science and Technology Committee: "H.R. 554 requires that the NNI agencies develop a plan for the environmental and safety research component of the program that includes explicit near-term and long-term goals, specifies the funding required to reach those goals, identifies the role of each participating agency and includes a roadmap for implementation.
… H.R. 554 also includes provisions aimed at capturing the economic benefits of nanotechnology. In 2007, $60 billion in nano-enabled products were sold; and it is predicted that the number will rise to $2.6 trillion by 2014. To encourage commercialization in the U.S.—and the corresponding economic benefit—the bill strengthens public-private partnerships by encouraging the creation of industry liaison groups to foster technology transfer and to help guide the NNI research agenda. The bill also promotes the use of nanotechnology research facilities to assist companies in the development of prototypes."
Recall that we’ve been down this road once before. In the 110th House also passed the identical reauthorization language, H.R. 5490, only to have it expire at the end of the Senate’s term last year. Hopefully the Senate takes up its version of the bill more quickly this time, and completes the reauthorization process. The companion bill has not been introduced in the Senate as yet.