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Commerce Department Receives $7.9 Billion in Recovery Act Funding Essential to U.S. Job Creation and Economic Growth


Wednesday, February 25, 2009



Commerce Department Receives $7.9 Billion in Recovery Act Funding Essential to U.S. Job Creation and Economic Growth

The U.S. Department of Commerce will receive $7.9 billion to create and save jobs for American workers as part of the historic economic stimulus bill recently signed by President Barack Obama.

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history,” said President Obama, noting it will create or save 3.5 million jobs over the next two years. “We have begun the essential work of keeping the American Dream alive in our time.”

ARRA investments in Commerce agencies, which will be allocated in an open, transparent and timely manner, include funding for business development, innovative research, construction projects, expanding broadband services and other programs that will create jobs in a broad range of occupations and industries.

Economic Development Administration

The Recovery Act includes $150 million for EDA to provide grants to economically distressed areas across the Nation to generate private sector jobs. Priority consideration will be given to those areas that have experienced sudden and severe economic dislocation and job loss due to corporate restructuring. Funds will be disbursed through the agency’s traditional grant making process and will support efforts to create higher-skill, higher-wage jobs by promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and connecting regional economies with the worldwide marketplace.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Recovery Act funding for NOAA is $830 million including:

  • $230 million slated for habitat restoration, navigation projects and vessel maintenance;
  • $430 million for construction and repair of NOAA facilities, ships and equipment, improvements for weather forecasting and satellite development;
  • $170 million to be used for climate modeling activities, including supercomputing procurement, and research into climate change.

Bureau of the Census

To ensure a successful 2010 Decennial Census, the Recovery Act includes $1 billion to hire new personnel for partnership and outreach efforts to minority communities and hard-to-reach populations, increase targeted media purchases, and ensure proper management of other operational and programmatic risks.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Through the Recovery Act, NIST is provided a total of $610 million, including:

  • $220 million for NIST laboratory research, measurements, and other services supporting economic growth and U.S. innovation through funding of such items as competitive grants; research fellowships; and advanced measurement equipment and supplies;
  • $360 million to address NIST’s backlog of maintenance and renovation projects and for construction of new facilities and laboratories, including $180 million for a competitive construction grant program for funding research science buildings outside of NIST;
  • $20 million in funds transferred from the Department of Health and Human Services for standards-related research that supports the security and interoperability of electronic medical records to reduce health care costs and improve the quality of care;
  • $10 million in funds is provided to help develop a comprehensive framework for a nationwide, fully interoperable smart grid for the U.S. electric power system.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The Recovery Act provides critical funding for programs at NTIA including:

  • $4.7 billion to establish a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program for awards to eligible entities to develop and expand broadband services to rural and underserved areas and improve access to broadband by public safety agencies.
    • Of these funds, $250 million will be available for innovative programs that encourage sustainable adoption of broadband services;
    • At least $200 million will be available to upgrade technology and capacity at public computing centers, including community colleges and public libraries;
    • $10 million will be a transfer to the Office of Inspector General for the purposes of BTOP audits and oversight.
    • Up to $350 million of the BTOP funding is designated for the development and maintenance of statewide broadband inventory maps.
  • $650 million for the TV Converter Box Coupon Program to allow NTIA to issue coupons to all households currently on the waiting list, to start mailing coupons via first class mail and to ensure vulnerable populations are prepared for the transition from analog-to-digital television transmission.

Office of Inspector General

The Recovery Act includes $6 million for the OIG to conduct audits and oversight of the programs and activities funded by the ARRA in addition to the $10 million provided to the OIG for oversight of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. With such a large infusion of cash expected to be obligated within a short time frame, this oversight will be important in evaluating the effectiveness of these programs and detecting and preventing waste, fraud and abuse.

About the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009. It is an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act is an extraordinary response to a crisis unlike any since the Great Depression, and includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.

For more information about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, visit

For more information on how the Department of Commerce is implementing the Recovery Act, visit