[Excerpt] A program of regional centers to assist small and medium-sized manufacturing companies use knowledge and technologies developed under the auspices of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was created by P.L.100-418. The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico that provide technical and managerial assistance to firms. Federal funding is matched by non-federal sources. 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.” Financing was cut 63% in FY2004, but restored in FY2005. The President’s FY2006 and FY2007 budget again proposed funding reductions; however in FY2006 MEP was financed at $104.6 million (after mandated rescissions) and at $104.6 million in FY2007. A significant reduction in support for MEP to $46.3 million was included in the Administration’s FY2008 budget. The FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, P.L. 110-161, finances the Partnership at $89.6 million, 14.4% less than the FY2007 figure. The President’s FY2009 budget request includes $4 million to close out the federally funded portion of the program. P.L. 110-69, the America COMPETES Act, authorizes funding for MEP through 2010 and creates several new manufacturing R&D programs. This report will be updated as events warrant.