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Obama Administration's Commerce Department Budget Proposal Seeks Investments in Innovation, Clean Energy, Infrastructure, Job Creation


Monday, February 1, 2010



Obama Administration’s Commerce Department Budget Proposal Seeks Investments in Innovation, Clean Energy, Infrastructure, Job Creation

President Barack Obama today submitted to Congress an $8.9 billion FY 2011 budget request for the U.S. Commerce Department. The budget reflects priorities that will spur the growth of U.S. exports and the jobs that come with them, improve our scientific and technological capabilities and upgrade our capabilities for weather and climate observations and forecasting.

Having steered the economy back from the brink of a depression, the administration is committed to moving the nation from recession to recovery by sparking job creation to get millions of Americans back to work and building a new foundation for long-term prosperity for all American families. The FY 2011 budget reflects the president’s commitment to changing the way Washington does business—ending programs that don’t work, streamlining those that do, cracking down on special interest access, and bringing a new responsibility to how tax dollars are spent.

“The aggressive measures President Obama took last year helped avert disaster, but there is an enormous amount of work left to do,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “It’s now time to translate increased economic activity into job growth. The president’s budget is a fiscally-sound approach to doing just that—investing in innovation, security and long-term economic competitiveness.”

Highlights of the president’s proposal for the Commerce Department include:

  • Investing in American economic competitiveness
  • Promoting opportunities for American exporters
  • Ensuring that grantees are efficiently and effectively executing their activities to promote broadband deployment and adoption
  • Increasing the flexibility of regional economic development activities
  • Advancing climate science and services and supporting critical satellite programs
  • Implementing the President's National Ocean Policy
  • Improving key economic and household statistics

America's Innovation and Competitiveness. The budget includes $709 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories as part of the President's Plan for Science and Innovation. This funding will support advanced measurement and standards development at NIST that will improve the nation’s economic security and facilitate the adoption of a wide variety of new technologies, ranging from nanotechnology and computer security advances to energy conservation systems. The budget also provides $80 million for the Technology Innovation Program, which invests in high-impact research that will address critical national needs and advance innovation. The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership will receive $130 million to increase the competitiveness of the nation's smaller manufacturers by facilitating the adoption of more efficient manufacturing processes.

The president’s budget also gives the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) full access to its fee collections and will strengthen USPTO's efforts to improve the speed and quality of patent examinations through a fee surcharge.

The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) collects and preserves scientific, technical, engineering and other business-related information from Federal and international sources and disseminates it to the American business and industrial research community. NTIS operates a revolving fund for the payment of all expenses incurred and does not receive appropriated funds.

Opportunities for American Exporters in New Markets. The budget provides $534 million, a 20 percent increase, to the International Trade Administration (ITA) in support of President Obama’s National Export Initiative and the broader federal effort to increase American exports. ITA will strengthen its efforts to promote exports from small- and medium-sized enterprises, help enforce U.S. trade law, fight to eliminate barriers to sales of American products and services, and improve the competitiveness of U.S. firms.

Access to Broadband. Broadband is a central part of the infrastructure necessary for the economy to create jobs and thrive in this century. During FY 2011, Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will focus on administering the $4.7 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), to expand broadband deployment, as well as broadband adoption and data collection. The budget provides $23.7 million for BTOP administration and will achieve savings by eliminating the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program, consolidating support for public broadcasters into the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Regional Economic Competitiveness. Competitive, high-performing regional economies are the building blocks of national growth and can benefit from smarter policies. The budget supports growth strategies based on stronger regional clusters of economic activity through funding in the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as the Department of Labor with other agencies in key support roles. As part of the administration's place-based initiative, the 2011 budget provides $75 million in regional planning and matching grants within EDA to support the creation of Regional Innovation Clusters that leverage regions' competitive strengths to boost job creation and economic growth.

Weather Forecasting and Climate Monitoring. The budget maintains continuity of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite coverage needed for monitoring weather and climate by providing over $2 billion to fund the development and acquisition of NOAA's polar orbiting and geo-stationary weather satellite systems, satellite-borne measurements of sea level and other climate variables, and other space-based observations. The budget supports upgrades to climate science, including improved modeling and assessments at global, national, and regional levels.

National Ocean Policy and Fisheries Management. The budget advances the President's National Ocean Policy with funding for coastal zone management and planning, competitive grants in support of regional ocean partnerships, integrated ecosystem assessments, and research on ocean acidification. The budget provides funds for comprehensive coastal and marine spatial planning, as well as for accelerated implementation of a national catch share program.

Key Statistical Programs. The budget provides $1.3 billion to the Economics and Statistics Administration’s (ESA) Census Bureau to process, tabulate, and release 2010 Census data, conduct extensive evaluations of the census, improve the data collection methods of the American Community Survey, and begin a continuous update process of the Census Bureau’s geospatial and address data, which is expected to produce long-run cost savings. These initiatives will provide more accurate data for decision-makers at all levels of government and in the private sector. Funds are also provided to prepare for the 2012 Economic and Government Censuses and to improve an important measure of poverty. The FY 2011 budget reflects a decrease of $6 billion from FY 2010 as a result of the ramp down from the 2010 Decennial Census.

The budget also provides funding for ESA’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to develop new data series on key economic sectors (such as manufacturing and retail trade) and American households. This includes funding to: 1) improve the foreign direct investment statistics so as to enhance and expand the coverage and detail of the data that it collects on multi-national corporations; 2) create a “New Economic Dashboard” that would expand the statistical coverage of the business and government sectors; 3) publish a new suite of measures of household income, expenses, debt, and savings; and 4) provide key statistics for analyzing the energy sector’s contribution to U.S. economic growth, productivity, inflation, the trade balance and income.

National Security. The budget requests $51 million for the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) to protect the security of the United States by preventing illegal exports of sensitive goods and technologies that could endanger the nation. Enhancements included within these funds will increase counter proliferation, counterterrorism, and other national security programs and investigations. Seized Computer Evidence Recovery Specialist (SCERS) improvements are also supported, as recent investigations have yielded great results utilizing these analytical technologies.

Native American Business Development. Funding requested for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will further implement the department’s responsibilities under the Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism Act of 2000 and the Indian Tribal Regulatory Reform and Business Development Act of 2000. These funds will increase the activities and outreach of MBDA’s Office of Native American Business Development and support research on Native American trade promotion and economic disparities.

Hoover Building Renovation. The budget requests $17.5 million towards renovation of the Herbert C. Hoover Building (HCHB), the department’s 73-year-old headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. This long-term project, developed in coordination with the General Services Administration (GSA), addresses major deficiencies in the building’s antiquated mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire safety and security systems.

Cyber security and Acquisition Management. The budget provides $11.9 million to Departmental Management (DM) for information technology cyber security. Increases within these funds will protect sensitive agency information from increased malicious activities. Additional funding is requested to strengthen the department’s acquisition management workforce to upgrade acquisition practices and performance, and to increase oversight of department-wide acquisition activities.

Inspector General Oversight. The budget provides funds to increase the level of oversight activities by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on Departmental acquisitions and contracts. Funds are also provided to support the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Effectiveness (CIGIE), established by the Inspector General Reform Act of 2008.