U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Testifies on Commerce Department's FY 2017 Budget Request Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Oral Testimony As Prepared for Secretary Pritzker

Chairman Culberson, Ranking Member Honda, and members of the subcommittee: thank you for the opportunity to lay out the priorities of President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request for the Commerce Department.

Building on your strong support over the last three years, this request will enable the Department of Commerce to serve as an effective voice of business in the federal government, continue our work with the private sector on policy development, and help firms of all sizes enter new markets.

Our FY17 budget request provides $9.7 billion in discretionary funding to support our core priorities under our “Open for Business Agenda,” while also allowing us to make our Department more efficient. This agenda is focused on four key areas: promoting trade and investment; spurring innovation and entrepreneurship; gathering and acting on environmental intelligence; and fueling a data-driven economy.

Today, I want to highlight just a few key initiatives under each of these areas.

First, the budget request will enable our Department to better serve American businesses as they seek to access the 96 percent of potential customers who live beyond our borders. Increasing trade and investment is critical to growing our economy. Nearly 10 million U.S. jobs are supported by exports.

This budget request will allow us to expand the footprint of our foreign trade specialists, who help American companies navigate exporting into new markets. It will strengthen our team’s ability to enforce trade laws that protect U.S. industries from unfair trade practices and ensure foreign governments’ compliance with international trade agreements. We are also requesting funding to expand SelectUSA – the first-ever, whole-of-government effort to facilitate business investment to and within the United States.

Second, the budget request will also increase investment in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation – which was established to ensure America’s global leadership in manufacturing. Each institute has a unique focus, but a common goal: to create, showcase, and bring new Made in America capabilities and manufacturing processes from lab to market in the near term. The Department of Commerce oversees the network of seven existing institutes, and we have the unique authority to establish new institutes in technology areas selected by industry.

Another key piece of our agenda is ensuring that communities and businesses have the information they need to prosper in a changing environment. This budget request supports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s core missions that promote more resilient communities, including fostering healthy marine resources and improving forecasting accuracy and lead times for severe weather. To ensure NOAA retains a robust observational infrastructure, the budget also provides $2.3 billion to fully fund the next generation of weather and environmental satellites, including the Polar Follow-On Satellite program.

Finally, recognizing that data powers the 21st century economy, the Census Bureau is committed to achieving a 2020 Census that is both accurate and efficient, with the goal of keeping the per-household cost below that of the 2010 decennial census. Investing wisely now in preparation for the 2020 Census will potentially save the American taxpayers more than $5 billion. To achieve these savings, this request provides $1.6 billion to develop, test, and implement innovative design methods.

The FY17 Budget Request furthers priority programs that have a strong return on investment for American taxpayers. Ultimately, these priorities are only a small piece of the Commerce Department’s work to develop and implement policies that support economic growth; enhance our country’s competiveness; and strengthen America’s businesses, both at home and abroad. I look forward to answering your questions today. Thank you.

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Last updated: 2016-02-23 17:19

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