Posted at 2:19 PM
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today released the fiscal year 2016 budget request for the U.S. Department of Commerce. The FY16 budget request supports and builds on President Obama’s vision for creating economic opportunity for all Americans, and includes critical funding for key Commerce priorities, including promoting trade and investment, spurring innovation, and fueling our data-driven economy. The $9.8 billion FY16 budget request directly aligns with the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda,” which reflects Commerce's role as the voice of business and the Obama Administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation.
“The Commerce Department’s fiscal year 2016 budget request reflects our role as the voice of business in the Obama Administration by making critical investments in areas that will grow our economy and create good American jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “This budget prioritizes promoting U.S. trade and investment, spurring high-tech manufacturing and innovation, unleashing more of our data and gathering and acting on environmental intelligence, while also streamlining operations to help businesses grow. We are committed to working with Congress to pass the President’s budget, so we can continue to build on our economic momentum and keep America more competitive in the global economy.
The FY 2016 Department of Commerce budget includes key investments in the following areas:
Strengthening U.S. Trade and Investment: The budget includes $497 million for the International Trade Administration (ITA) to strengthen the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promote job-creating trade and investment, and ensure fair trade through the rigorous enforcement of our trade laws and agreements. Funding for ITA includes $15 million to accelerate operations of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), a multi-agency effort to address unfair trade practices and barriers that impede U.S. exports. The budget also provides $20 million to expand SelectUSA, which is the U.S. government-wide effort to promote and facilitate business investment into the United States. Other funds will support ITA’s efforts to make it easier for U.S. companies of all sizes to reach the 95 percent of consumers who live beyond our borders, including program and policy improvements to provide exporters more tailored assistance and to strengthen partnerships at the state and local level that support export promotion and FDI attraction strategies.
Spurring Innovation, Growth and Competitiveness:
Strengthening U.S. Manufacturing: The budget supports the expansion of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) with up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes across the nation. In total, the budget includes discretionary funding for seven new institutes, including $140 million for the first two Commerce-led institutes, and an additional $1.9 billion mandatory proposal to fulfill the President’s vision. The budget includes an additional $10 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 (RAMI) that passed as part of the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The budget also provides $141 million for NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which will focus on expanding technology and supply chain capabilities to support technology adoption by smaller manufacturers to improve their competitiveness.
Supporting 21st Century Economic Development: The budget invests $273 million for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support innovative economic development planning, regional capacity building, and capital projects. Within this amount, $25 million is included for the Regional Innovation Strategies Program to promote economic development projects that spur entrepreneurship and innovation at the regional level. The EDA budget also includes $39 million for Partnership Planning to support local organizations with their long-term economic development planning efforts and outreach. Additionally, $53 million is provided for Economic Adjustment Assistance for critical investments such as economic diversification planning, and implementation, technical assistance, and access to business start-up facilities and equipment. Finally, the budget also includes $8 million to bolster EDA’s role in coordinating federal economic development programs and expand their on the ground presence to local communities through planning and technical assistance.
Supporting 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 of freeing up 500 MHz of Federal 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, which will reduce the deficit by more than $40 billion over the next 10 years through spectrum auctions. These auctions will increase commercial access to wireless broadband spectrum while fully funding the interoperable public safety and first responder broadband network. Finally, the budget highlights the Administration’s commitment to cybersecurity by supporting NIST’s efforts to work with industry on implementing the Cybersecurity Framework of standards and best practices, as well as sustaining initiatives associated with cybersecurity automation, cybersecurity information, and the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC).
Spurring Innovation for American Businesses: Through implementation of the America Invents Act, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to make it easier for American entrepreneurs and businesses to bring their inventions to the marketplace sooner, converting ideas into new products and new jobs. The budget supports a program level of $3.5 billion for USPTO, a level that would allow USPTO to fund operations and to further implement administrative actions proposed by the President’s Patent Task Force.
Fueling a Data-Driven Economy: Data is the fuel that powers the 21st century economy, and Commerce Department data touches every American and informs business decisions every day.
Improving federal statistical measures: The budget provides $1.5 billion to support key research and testing of innovative design methods necessary to complete a cost-effective 2020 Decennial Census. This funding is crucial to achieve the goal of conducting a Census at a lower cost per household than in the 2010 Census, potentially saving up to $5 billion compared to the costs of repeating the 2010 Census design. The budget also includes a planned cyclical increase for the Economic Census. In keeping with the Federal Digital Strategy, the Census Bureau has set a goal to unlock the potential of our data and products to better meet the needs of our users. This budget includes funding to enable users such as businesses, policy makers, and the American public to make better data-driven decisions based on credible statistics, easy-to-use tools, and standardized data elements.
Gathering and Acting on Environmental Intelligence: The Department’s environment agenda aims to help communities and businesses prepare for and prosper in a changing environment. The Budget provides $6 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 invests in NOAA’s observational infrastructure, including $2 billion to fully fund the next generation of weather and environmental satellites. The budget also provides $2.2 million, as part of a $20 million interagency investment, to expand the Climate Resilience Toolkit, giving communities and practitioners valuable tools and information that can help them plan for and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Streamlining Operations: To further the President’s goals of improving customer service and enhancing the efficiency of government, the budget includes $6 million to support a Commerce Digital Services team to adopt private sector best practices and recruit talent to improve Commerce’s information technology systems. This team will be responsible for driving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Agency’s highest impact, client focused information technology systems. In addition, the budget includes $3 million to support the development of an “Idea Lab,” which will house a team dedicated to incubating and investing in innovative approaches to more efficiently and effectively meet Agency strategic goals and objectives through greater employee engagement.
To view the full Department of Commerce FY16 budget request, visit:http://www.osec.doc.gov/bmi/budget/FY16BIB/EntireDocument-WebVersionWithCharts.pdf. To view a fact sheet on the budget, visit: http://beta.commerce.gov/news/fact-sheets/2015/02/fact-sheet-fy-2016-us-department-commerce-budget.