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Oral Statement on Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Before Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Commerce Secretary John Bryson
Oral Statement on Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Before Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

Thank you Chairwoman Mikulski, Ranking Member Hutchison, and Members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to offer a written statement for the record and to discuss President Obama’s Fiscal Year ‘13 budget request for the Commerce Department.

Before I begin, I want to say that it is an honor to testify before the longest-serving female member in the history of Congress. As the father of four daughters, I deeply admire your service to the people of Maryland and our nation since being elected to Congress in 1976. Thank you and congratulations, Chairwoman Mikulski, on making history once again.

In my first five months as Secretary, I have seen many examples of how the Commerce Department supports American business. Just last Friday, I visited Pavilion Furniture.  It’s a small manufacturer in Miami who we are helping to start exporting to the Caribbean and Asia. The owner Mike Buzzella said, “The introductions that the Commerce Department just made for us in Panama and the Pacific Rim are helping find new ways to grow in a global economy.”

This budget reflects a commitment to helping businesses like Mike’s continue to drive competitiveness, innovation, and job creation. It includes eight billion dollars in discretionary funding and 2.3 billion dollars in mandatory funding.

Throughout this budget, we have made smart and tough choices that cut costs, while building only on programs that truly work.  
Key priorities are in areas where we see growth and promise such as advanced manufacturing, exporting, and attracting foreign direct investment. 

  • For example, the budget includes 135 million dollars for R&D in areas like advanced materials and advanced manufacturing processes.  These are critical areas where the U.S. must stay competitive.

We will also continue to support the foundational building blocks of our economy, such as research and science, environmental sustainability, and public safety. 

  • For example, NOAA’s budget includes 1.8 billion dollars for satellites which provide 93 percent of the input to our nation’s weather prediction models.  This directly impacts the daily flow of commerce and the ability of businesses and communities to prepare for disaster.
  • Also, we have invested in stock assessments because our fishermen and our fisheries are culturally and economically important to our country and to our competitiveness.

At the same time, we are committed to serving as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. We propose eliminating 18 programs, reducing funding for many others, and achieving administrative savings. Altogether, this will save taxpayers over 400 million dollars.

Let me just close by saying that as a CEO for nearly two decades, I strongly believe that any organization is most effective when it operates with a common vision. Our 12 bureaus are committed to functioning as what we call “One Commerce.”

Collectively and collaboratively, we will continue to empower American businesses to drive our recovery and to build on the nearly four million jobs that have been created over just the past two years.   

Thank you all for your continued support of the Commerce Department. I look forward to your comments and I’m pleased to answer any questions.