The Commerce Department’s proposed 2012 budget makes tough choices and reduces spending by $242 million, while making important investments that will help America out-build and out-innovate our economic competitors.With a proposed five-year, non-security discretionary spending freeze that will save $400 billion, President Obama’s budget reduces non-security, discretionary spending to its lowest percentage of the economy since President Dwight Eisenhower was in office.
Among the highlighted cuts and reductions:
- $15.8 million from eliminating the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program;
- $37.3 million from eliminating EDA’s 21st Century Innovation Infrastructure program;
- $20 million by restructuring the International Trade Administration to focus on high-priority markets and industries. This means eliminating a number of foreign posts, among other cost savings;
- $43 million by eliminating the Emergency Steel Guaranteed Loan Program;
- More than $2 million by reducing the reliance of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program on federal funding and shifting it to a private sector footing, and;
- $20 million by eliminating the Public Telecommunications Facilities, Planning and Construction Program.
In addition to the program cuts mentioned above, the budget includes savings that result from reforming the way Commerce works – doing more, while spending less. That meant changing how the department handles acquisitions and logistics, such as shipping, to find places where it can leverage buying power; tightening the filling of vacancies to the highest priority positions and better using information technologies. All told, the proposed 2012 budget finds more than $140 million in administrative savings.
Among the investments highlighted:
- $78.5 million for National Export Initiative activities that will help more U.S. businesses sell their goods and services in markets overseas;
- An additional $46.3 million for EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance program to help communities deal with trade-related economic impacts or other sudden economic challenges, and;
- $40 million for EDA’s Regional Innovation Program to stimulate regional economic development and job creation.
Additionally, there are a host of innovation-focused investments that will enhance support for National Institute of Standards and Technology programs and the Commerce Department’s FY 2012 budget includes a $7 billion line item funded from the auction of spectrum, which will fund the creation of a nationwide, interoperable wireless public safety network – a goal of President Obama’s and a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. NTIA will administer this initiative.