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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Commerce Department budget focuses on the key attributes of a globally competitive economy, including promoting U.S. trade and investment, spurring innovation, and fueling data-driven economy

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today released the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the U.S. Department of Commerce. The FY15 budget request supports and builds on President Obama’s vision for creating economic opportunity for all Americans, and includes critical funding for key Commerce priorities: promoting trade and investment, spurring innovation, and fueling our data-driven economy. The $8.8 billion FY15 budget request directly aligns with the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda,” which reflects Commerce's role as the voice of business and the Obama Administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation. 

“The Commerce Department’s fiscal year 2015 budget reflects our role as the voice of business in the Administration by making critical investments in our long-term growth and competitiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “This budget prioritizes high-tech manufacturing and innovation, U.S. trade and investment, infrastructure, skills training, unleashing government data and gathering and acting on environmental intelligence, while also cutting red tape to help businesses grow. We are committed to working with Congress to pass the President’s budget, so we can continue to help create the conditions necessary for businesses to grow and hire, and for the U.S. economy to thrive.” 

The FY 2015 Department of Commerce budget includes key investments in the following areas: 

Promoting Trade and Investment: To promote exports and greater foreign investment in the U.S., the budget includes $497 million for the International Trade Administration (ITA), an eight percent increase over the 2014 enacted level. Funding for ITA includes $15 million to accelerate operations of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), an interagency effort to address unfair trade practices and barriers to boost U.S. exports, and $20 million to expand SelectUSA, which promotes re-shoring and actively brings job-creating investment to the United States from around the world. 

Another $4 million will help the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) improve the measurement and understanding of U.S. foreign direct investment in support of the SelectUSA initiative. The additional funds support increased export promotion activities in underserved markets around the world and ITA’s role in the Administration’s BusinessUSA initiative, a one-stop shop to connect businesses with federal government resources more effectively and efficiently. 

As part of efforts to reinforce the important role that investment plays in the health of our economy, the budget also includes plans to rename the International Trade Administration (ITA) to the International Trade and Investment Administration (ITIA). The change more accurately reflects the Commerce Department’s focus on making investment a bigger part of the U.S. economy’s DNA, as laid out in the “Open for Business Agenda.” This recognition, both through the name change and funding for programs like SelectUSA, reinforces ITA’s important mission and acknowledges the demands of a globally competitive economy. 

The budget includes $111 million for the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), a $9 million increase, to enforce our export control laws to ensure that our national security is protected even as we foster trade. This will support BIS’ continuing work on Export Control Reform, which will help advance national security and economic competitiveness by better focusing U.S. controls on transactions to destinations or end users of concern, while facilitating secure trade for controlled items with U.S. allies and close partners. 

Spurring Innovation: To foster a more innovative U.S. economy, the budget will increase regional and national capacity for innovative manufacturing, be the principal defender and champion of the digital economy, continue to support research and development (R&D) that leads to transformative changes in technology, and promote intellectual property policy that supports innovation. 

The budget provides $141 million, a $13 million increase over the 2014 enacted level, for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), with an increased focus on expanding technology and supply chain capabilities to support technology adoption by smaller manufacturers to improve their competitiveness. The budget also outlines an additional $15 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech), a public-private partnership that will support industry-led consortia developing technologies to address major manufacturing challenges faced by American businesses. 

Protecting innovators and improving our patent system: Through implementation of the America Invents Act, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to make it easier for American entrepreneurs and businesses to bring their inventions to the marketplace sooner, converting ideas into new products and new jobs. The budget proposes several legislative reforms designed to improve the transparency and efficiency of the American patent system, complementing a series of administrative actions the Administration announced in June 2013, which will help protect innovators from frivolous litigation and ensure the highest- quality patents in our system. 

Increasing wireless broadband access and critical telecommunications policy coordination: The budget requests a total of $51 million for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA). That includes efforts to free up 500 MHz of spectrum through spectrum auctions, which will increase commercial access to wireless broadband spectrum and reduce the deficit by nearly $20 billion over the next 10 years. An additional $7.5 million for NTIA’s new Internet Policy Center will enhance the Department of Commerce’s coordination and policymaking across broadband stakeholders. The budget also provides $7 billion to realize the vision of a fully interoperable public safety and first responder broadband network through FirstNet. 

Increasing the capacity of U.S. regional economies: The budget includes $210 million for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support innovative economic development planning, regional capacity building, and capital projects. This includes $25 million for the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to promote economic development projects that spur entrepreneurship and innovation at the regional level. 

The budget also includes increased funding for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) that will enable the agency to continue supporting the national growth of minority-owned U.S. businesses, with additional focus on impacting regional economies and expanding into new markets. 

Supporting cutting-edge research and development: The budget provides $680 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories to accelerate advances in top research priorities including advanced manufacturing, forensics, cybersecurity and disaster resilience, and improve scientific facilities. Included in this amount is $6 million for NIST to accelerate and expand technology transfer across the federal government, which will enhance the competitiveness of U.S. industry by sharing innovations and knowledge from federal labs. 

Fueling a Data-Driven Economy: Data powers the 21st century economy, and Commerce Department data touches every American and informs business decisions every day. 

Improving federal statistical measures: The budget includes $753 million - an increase of $281 million over the 2014 enacted level - for the U.S. Census Bureau to research and test innovative design methods necessary to achieve an efficient and effective 2020 Decennial Census. The budget also requests $16 million to invest in the development of three Commerce statistical measures that will improve evidence-based decision-making across the federal government and the private sector. The budget calls for $5 million for the Census Bureau to improve the supplemental poverty measure to allow for more fair and accurate indexing and analysis of poverty programs. 

Catalyzing new businesses and services powered by our data: An additional $5 million to the Census Bureau will increase access to critical business datasets and to create a new field of research into the conditions and outcomes of business investments in research, development, and innovation by expanding existing data projects. An additional $2 million will initiate “Big Data for Small Business,” a new data program that collects a new Small Business GDP measure to support decision-making by business owners and investors as well as small business analyses. 

Gathering and Acting on Environmental Intelligence: The Department’s environment agenda aims to help communities and businesses prepare for and prosper in a changing environment. The budget provides $2 billion to fully fund the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) next generation of weather satellites, which are critical to its ability to provide accurate information to decision-makers throughout the government and private sector, as well as time-sensitive weather forecasts and warnings that help protect lives and property. 

Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative: The President is also proposing the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, which will be fully paid for with a balanced package of spending and tax reforms. It will demonstrate how, by simply changing a few tax provisions and reforming spending programs, Congress could achieve significant economic goals in research, education, manufacturing and skills training. The initiative is consistent with the model established in Murray-Ryan, providing equal dollar-for-dollar increases above the current law discretionary spending caps for both defense and non-defense. 

Specific proposals for the Commerce Department in the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative include:

  • A National Network for Manufacturing Innovation with up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes across the Nation, building on the four institutes already launched and the five institutes that the Administration has committed to funding;
  • NIST efforts to accelerate advances in top research priorities including advanced manufacturing, forensics, cybersecurity and disaster resilience, and improve scientific facilities;
  • NOAA research, including weather and ocean research, and modernization of its observation and data gathering capabilities by replacing a NOAA research vessel;
  • Catalytic investments in communities and regional economies to increase their ability to accelerate production of value-added goods and services, including their capacity for advanced manufacturing;
  • Development of data and tools that businesses can use to help market and sell goods abroad; and
  • A nation that is better prepared for the impacts of climate change by improving coastal resilience to severe weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions, including research grants to improve severe weather prediction and the understanding of climate change impacts on various sectors, including fisheries.

The full Department of Commerce FY 2015 budget request, including historical tables and supplemental analyses, will be released next week. To learn more about the “Open for Business Agenda” visit: