Commerce Department FY 2007 Budget Maintains Commitment to Job Growth and U.S. Competitiveness

Press Release
From an external source

Christine Gunderson/Dan Nelson

WASHINGTON, D.C . - U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today announced that President Bush's $6.1 billion budget request for the U.S. Department of Commerce maintains the department's priorities of promoting job growth and U.S. competitiveness while also restraining discretionary federal spending.

"This budget request reflects President Bush's commitment to maintaining a strong and vibrant economy that enables U.S. businesses to innovate, compete and succeed in the global marketplace," said Gutierrez. "This administration is determined to continue providing American entrepreneurs and workers with the tools they need to fuel our economy while also reining in federal spending."

The Commerce Department's budget will focus on its main goals of providing information and tools to maximize U.S. competitiveness; fostering science and technological leadership, including protecting intellectual property rights; and observing, protecting and managing the earth's resources to promote environmental stewardship.

Maximizing Competitiveness and Economic Growth

A central theme for the president's FY 2007 budget is economic growth and maximizing U.S. competitiveness.

The International Trade Administration (ITA) supports U.S. commercial interests at home and abroad by strengthening the competitiveness of American industries and workers, promoting international trade, opening markets to U.S. businesses, and ensuring compliance with domestic and international trade laws and agreements. The president's FY 2007 budget requests $409 million for ITA to serve its goals along with an increase of $2 million to support the president's Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. This partnership will reduce the barriers to energy efficient American products and technologies in Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is charged with leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness while preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. The president's FY 2007 budget expands the programs of EDA by $47 million to $327 million. This is a 17 percent increase reflecting the administration's emphasis on regional competitiveness and measuring performance as the underlying strategy for federal economic development policy. EDA will work collaboratively with other federal partners in the establishment of a proactive, regionally based federal economic development framework to empower America's communities to be globally competitive.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) promotes the understanding of the United States economy and its competitive position. Under the umbrella of the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), BEA provides key objective data on the nation's economic condition in a timely and cost-effective manner. The president's FY 2007 budget requests $80 million to continue providing statistics that are critical to public and private sector decision-making.

In support of their role as the leading source of quality data regarding the nation's people and economy, the president's FY 2007 budget request for ESA's Census Bureau is $878 million. Among the additional funding for programmatic changes included in this budget request for Census is an increase of $44 million to reengineer the collection of basic census data to meet constitutional and legal mandates in preparation for the 2010 Decennial Census, implement the American Community Survey to obtain detailed annual data, and modernize the bureau's geographic database. Other program additions include $11 million to develop tools and systems to support the 2007 Economic Census and $3 million for the Census of Governments to collect data supporting the 2007 Census.

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) regulates the export of sensitive goods and technologies to protect the security of the U.S. The president's FY 2007 budget requests $78.6 million to enable BIS to effectively carry out this mission. The proposed budget includes an increase to modernize the Export Control Automated Support System which is critical for processing export licenses.

To continue their focus on accelerating the competitiveness and growth of minority-owned businesses, the president's FY 2007 budget request for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is $29.6 million.

Fostering Leadership in Science and Technology

The president's FY 2007 budget request of $581 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a part of the Technology Administration (TA), will advance measurement science, standards, and technology disciplines such as nanotechnology, quantum information science and neutron research. This request includes a $104 million increase for NIST laboratories, National Research Facilities, and Construction and Major Renovations to implement the president's 10-year American Competitiveness Initiative.

For the third year in a row, President Bush is recommending that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) keep all of the fees it will collect. USPTO will use the $1.8 billion in spending authority contained in the president's FY 2007 budget request to reduce application processing time and increase the quality of its products. This funding would allow for the hiring of additional examiners, the refining of the electronic patent application filing and processing system, the improvement of quality assurance programs, and the implementation of higher standards for examiner certification and recertification.

For the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA), the president's FY 2007 budget request proposes programs in support of the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund. These programs will provide consumers with vouchers to aid in purchasing digital-to-analog television converter boxes, assist public safety agencies in acquiring interoperable communications systems, and support an interim digital television broadcast system for New York City. The Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund, created by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, funds a number of programs with the auction proceeds of electromagnetic spectrum recovered from discontinued analog television signals.

Promoting Environmental Stewardship

The president's FY 2007 budget request of $3.6 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reflects the administration's commitment to environmental stewardship. Within Operations, Research and Facilities, the request provides an increase of $12.4 million to operate the U.S. Tsunami Warning System, increases to several programs that will support a variety of fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico, and $6 million for the Open Rivers Initiative (ORI): a competitive grant program using a community-based model to remove river barriers in coastal states, thus enhancing populations of key NOAA trust species and supporting the president's Cooperative Conservation Initiative.

For procurement, acquisition, and construction, major program increases include funding to have the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction facility ready to begin operations in 2008, $20 million for NOAA's share of the National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) which will replace the Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite series, and $113 million to continue the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) series system acquisition which will be the next generation follow-on to the current GOES-N satellites used to track storm development and movement.

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