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Oral Statement for Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on FY14 Budget

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank
Oral Statement for Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on FY14 Budget

Chairwoman Mikulski, Vice Chairman Shelby, and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee, I am pleased to be here to discuss President Obama’s budget request for the Department of Commerce for Fiscal Year 2014. 

 As we continue to recover from a deep recession, the Commerce Department has helped thousands of American businesses grow, innovate, and compete around the world.  Our work remains central to the top national priority of economic growth and job creation. 

 This request of $8.6 billion makes crucial investments that are needed to support U.S. competitiveness and build on the progress we have seen these past three years.  I’ll highlight several examples and then I look forward to our discussion:

  • First, the budget includes $113 million to launch an interagency effort called the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. It will help local communities position themselves to attract inbound manufacturing investment by helping them build an attractive economic infrastructure.  This program will assist towns with key projects ranging from research and tech transfer programs, to physical infrastructure improvements, to workforce development.  Importantly, these Federal dollars will leverage additional private and non-federal funds. The goal is to accelerate regional economic growth by helping America’s communities attract manufacturers and their supply chains. 
  • Second, in FY12, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program helped over 30,000 mostly small and medium-sized manufacturers. The new budget provides $25 million over the FY12 enacted level for this program to establish Manufacturing Technology Acceleration Centers, each focused on a major area of advanced technology, that would help more of these small manufacturers innovate and integrate into national supply chains.
  • Third, as many of the world’s economies have slowed, U.S. companies will be challenged to build on their record $2.2 trillion in exports last year.. Therefore, the budget proposes a 14-percent increase over FY12 for the International Trade Administration to work harder to promote key industries and markets where U.S. companies have a strategic advantage. Particularly important in this request is the proposal to hire additional Foreign Commercial Service officers and staff in fast-growing markets. 
  • Fourth, and to complement the support in exporting, we propose $20 million to expand the workload of the new Interagency Trade Enforcement Center–a joint effort with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office–to level the playing field for U.S. business by reducing unfair trade and investment barriers.
  • Fifth, the U.S. is positioned to attract a significant share of new domestic and foreign investment dollars due to: our expanded domestic energy supplies and decreased energy costs, our increased labor productivity, our projected GDP growth and other factors. Therefore, the budget includes $20 million to fully support the SelectUSA program, which works in partnerships with state and local authorities to help them attract these investments to U.S. communities. 
  • Sixth, the budget invests in environmental stewardship such as ocean and coastal research, observing, and conservation activities, including $929 million for the National Marine Fisheries Service.
  • And seventh, the budget includes approximately $2 billion to support crucial weather satellite programs which are critical to providing accurate forecasts and warnings that protect lives and property.
  • Other ongoing priorities–such as supporting minority-owned enterprises, improving cybersecurity, continuing export control reform, improving public safety communications, and more–are also reflected in our budget.

Throughout the process of developing and refining these priorities, the Department of Commerce has remained focused on responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars. In this challenging climate, we have made smart and tough choices to cut costs while building on those programs that truly work. We’ve only proposed new investments in areas that have such great potential for success that ignoring them would be irresponsible. 

And we are reducing costs where we can. At the operational level, we have reduced administrative costs by $185 million in FY12, an estimated $176 million in FY13, and a projected $194 million in this new budget for FY14. 

By combining crucial investments with fiscal responsibility, the Commerce Department’s FY14 budget is a meaningful and timely plan to further strengthen the economic recovery, to stimulate private sector job creation, and to promote American competitiveness for years to come. With each of our twelve bureaus working together, I am confident in our ability to realize that vision. Thank you, and I look forward to our discussion.