Posted at 11:00 AM
Under the President’s leadership, we have turned our economy around and created 14 million jobs. Our unemployment rate is below five percent for the first time in almost eight years. Nearly 18 million people have gained health coverage as the Affordable Care Act has taken effect. And we have dramatically cut our deficits by almost three-quarters and set our Nation on a more sustainable fiscal path.
Yet while it is important to take stock of our progress, this Budget is not about looking back at the road we have traveled. It is about looking forward and making sure our economy works for everybody, not just those at the top. It is about choosing investments that not only make us stronger today, but also reflect the kind of country we aspire to be – the kind of country we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren.
The Budget makes critical investments in our domestic and national security priorities while adhering to the bipartisan budget agreement signed into law last fall, and it lifts sequestration in future years so that we continue to invest in our economic future and our national security. It also drives down deficits and maintains our fiscal progress through smart savings from health care, immigration, and tax reforms.
The Budget shows that the President and the Administration remain focused on meeting our greatest challenges – including accelerating the pace of innovation to tackle climate change and find new treatments for devastating diseases; giving everyone a fair shot at opportunity and economic security; and advancing our national security and global leadership – not only for the year ahead, but for decades to come.
The President’s FY 2017 Budget provides $9.75 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Commerce to create the conditions for economic growth by promoting trade and investment, spurring innovation, gathering and acting on environmental intelligence, and fueling a data-driven economy. This includes:
- Supporting key trade enforcement and export promotion activities that will grow the economy by ensuring our trading partners abide by their commitments and helping more American companies sell their goods and services abroad.
- Expanding the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) institutes by providing $42 million to launch two new institutes in 2017 and continue operations of the first Commerce led institute. The Budget also proposes an additional $1.9 billion in mandatory funding for an additional 27 institutes, completing the President’s vision for a network of 45 institutes over the next ten years.
- Accelerating research and development (R&D) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories that support advances ranging from cybersecurity to advanced manufacturing, and enable more commercial benefits from taxpayer-funded R&D by expanding lab-to-market transfers of innovations in manufacturing and other technologies.
- Investing $1.6 billion to support the U.S. Census Bureau efforts to test, refine, and implement innovative design methods and new technology necessary to achieve a higher quality 2020 Decennial Census at a lower cost per household than in the 2010 Census, potentially saving more than $5 billion in lifecycle costs.
- Continuing strong support for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) critical weather, research, and oceans programs, including $2.3 billion to fully fund the next generation of weather satellites and an additional $24 million for the completion of the acquisition and construction of a regional survey vessel (RSV).
Strengthening U.S. Trade and Investment
Promotes American Exports and Investment in the United States. To promote exports and foreign investment in the United States, the Budget includes $521 million for the International Trade Administration (ITA). Funding for ITA includes $20 million to expand SelectUSA, which is the U.S. government-wide effort to recruit foreign businesses to invest and create new jobs in the United States. Other funds support strengthening trade enforcement and compliance, expanding ITA’s capacity to position the United States to more effectively compete in the global marketplace, and increasing opportunities for U.S. companies by better connecting them with consumers who live outside U.S. borders.
Promoting American Innovation, Growth and Competitiveness
Strengthens U.S. Manufacturing. The Budget supports the expansion of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). In total, the Budget includes discretionary funding for five new institutes, including $42 million to launch two new Commerce-led institutes and continue the operations of Commerce’s first institute slated for launch later in FY 2016. The Budget also includes a mandatory spending proposal of $1.9 billion to complete the remaining 27 institutes and create a national network of 45 manufacturing institutes over the next ten years that will position the United States as a global leader in advanced manufacturing technology. The Budget includes an additional $5 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to coordinate the activities of the current and future institutes, leveraging the authorities in the bipartisan Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act. The Budget also provides $141 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which will focus on expanding technology and supply chain capabilities to support technology adoption by small and medium sized manufacturing enterprises to improve their competitiveness.
Supports 21st Century Economic Development. The Budget invests $258 million for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support innovative economic development planning, regional capacity building, and capital projects. Within this amount, $20 million is included for the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to promote economic development projects that spur entrepreneurship and innovation at the regional level. The Budget also includes $35 million for Partnership Planning to support local organizations with their long-term economic development planning efforts and outreach. Additionally, $85 million is provided for Public Works and $50 million for Economic Adjustment Assistance for critical investments such as 21st century infrastructure; economic diversification planning and implementation; technical assistance; and access to business start-up facilities and equipment. Alongside the $258 million provided to EDA, the Budget invests an additional $50 million in mandatory spending for a new competitive grant program. This program builds on the success of prior EDA-led activities, to incentivize partnerships between Federal Labs, academia and regional economic development organizations enabling the transfer of knowledge and technologies from Labs to private industry for commercialization. The Budget includes an additional $1.7 million in operating funds to bolster EDA’s leading role in coordinating federal economic development programs and expand their on-the-ground presence with local communities through planning and technical assistance. The Budget also proposes a Regional Economic Dashboard by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) that will create a county level GDP measure to help policy makers at all levels of government and businesses better target investments to areas of need and measure the impact of these investments.
Supports the Digital Economy. The Budget demonstrates the Administration’s continued commitment to broadband telecommunications as a driver of economic development, job creation, technological innovation, and enhanced public safety. The President’s broadband vision—supported by the Budget—of freeing up 500 MHz of spectrum, promoting broadband competition in communities throughout the country, and connecting over 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband connections through the ConnectED initiative will create thousands of quality jobs and ensure that students have access to the best educational tools available. The Budget supports implementation of telecommunications provisions enacted in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which facilitate planning for, research on, and eventual auction of wireless broadband spectrum. These provisions have already yielded more than $40 billion in receipts to the government, fully funding the interoperable public safety and first responder broadband network and reducing the deficit. Finally, the Budget highlights the Administration’s commitment to cybersecurity by supporting NIST’s efforts to improve industry’s cybersecurity risk management practices through use of the Cybersecurity Framework, as well as sustaining initiatives associated with cybersecurity automation, cybersecurity information, and identity authentication.
Spurs Innovation for American Businesses. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to lead America’s innovation community by making it easier for American entrepreneurs and businesses to develop, protect, and scale their inventions – converting mere ideas into concrete realities. These breakthroughs help pave the way for new technologies, jobs, and even entire industries. As the USPTO continues to carry out the mandates of the America Invents Act, it remains focused on adopting policies and programs that embolden and strengthen our intellectual property system. Investments in the quality and clarity of a patent right in the marketplace, durable long term IT investments, and an in-house patent review process, are allowing the USPTO to improve the quality of the patents being issued, provide a faster and lower cost alternative to district court disputes, and ensure businesses can focus on innovation not litigation. The Budget supports a program level of $3.2 billion for USPTO, a level that would allow USPTO to fund operations, further implement administrative actions proposed by the President’s Patent Task Force, and build an intellectual property system fit for the 21st century.
Invests in an Efficient and Effective 2020 Decennial Census. The Census Bureau is committed to achieving a 2020 Census that delivers on the core mission to count everyone in the U.S. once, and only once, and keeps costs at or below the per-household cost of the 2010 decennial census, adjusted for inflation, potentially saving over $5 billion compared to the costs of repeating the 2010 Census design. The Budget provides $1.6 billion to support key development and implementation of innovative design methods necessary to achieve these goals for the 2020 Decennial Census. This includes $103 million allotted for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCaP) IT system that provides a foundation for newly-automated 2020 data collection and processing operations.
To ensure these goals can be met beyond 2017, the Budget also proposes to amend budget law to allow an adjustment to the discretionary spending limits starting in FY 2018 for the cyclical increase in decennial census operations. This adjustment would provide the Census Bureau the funding certainty to confidently invest in cost saving technology that will lower the life cycle cost of the 2020 Census and future decennial censuses, while protecting other discretionary programs as decennial census costs significantly rise late in the decade.
The Budget also includes a planned cyclical increase for the 2017 Economic Census and Census of Governments, and robust funding to support and continually improve the American Community Survey. The Budget also proposes an initiative for the Administrative Records Clearinghouse that will provide the federal government with increased capacity to make data-driven decisions about critical programs and provide greater transparency to the public about program effectiveness by developing a more comprehensive infrastructure for linking, sharing, and analyzing key Federal- and State-held administrative datasets.
Gathers and Acts on Environmental Intelligence. The Department’s environmental agenda aims to help communities and businesses prepare for and prosper in a changing environment. The Budget provides $5.8 billion to advance the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) ability to understand and anticipate changes in the Earth’s environment, improve society’s ability to make scientifically informed decisions, deliver vital services to the economy and public safety, and conserve and manage ocean and coastal ecosystems and resources.
The Budget provides $1 billion for the National Marine Fisheries Service and $570 million for the National Ocean Service, including $20 million for an expanded competitive Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program to help reduce the risks and impacts associated with extreme weather events and changing ocean conditions and uses. It also provides $9 million to help communities that have sustained a fishery disaster to become more environmentally and economically resilient through activities such as ecosystem restoration, research, and adaptation. To better understand the impacts of increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide on ocean chemistry and marine resources, the Budget includes $22 million for an expanded ocean acidification research program at NOAA.
The Budget requests $12 million for a new Integrated Water Prediction (IWP) initiative that will leverage the National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and link current expertise around the country to promote innovation in water prediction capability and services, such as a new integrated model for coastal and inland communities that provides high-resolution water information at a micro level. Through the initiative, NOAA will develop and deliver new and improved products that put critical water forecast information into the hands of local decision makers and members of the public.
The Budget invests in NOAA’s observational infrastructure, including $2.3 billion to fully fund the next generation of weather and environmental satellites. This includes $393 million for the Polar Follow-On satellite program enabling NOAA to maintain an optimal launch schedule, helping minimize the risks associated with any potential gap in weather data. The Budget also includes $24 million to construct a new Regional Survey Vessel (RSV) capable of conducting fisheries surveys, habitat characterizations, and other mission-critical activities. In addition, the Budget proposes a $100 million mandatory investment to acquire a second RSV to help maintain NOAA’s research fleet capacity, as existing ships in the NOAA fleet reach the end of their service life.
The Department continues its commitment to support a Weather-Ready Nation, and evolve the National Weather Service to become a more agile decision-support organization capable of providing ever more accurate and timely weather forecasts. The Budget invests $1.1 billion for the National Weather Service, including funding increases for critical infrastructure.