FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Mary Mead Crawford or Jim Dyke
Monday, April 9, 2001
Commerce's Evans: President's Budget Puts "First Things First"
U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans today praised President George W. Bush's budget for Fiscal Year 2002 for putting "first things first."
"President Bush's budget puts American entrepreneurs and workers in prime position to innovate and create wealth for their businesses, their families, their communities and their nation," Evans said today.
"The President's budget is focused on the people's priorities, and it puts first things first, starting with a fair, responsible and much-needed tax cut," Evans said. "The President's proposed tax cut will do more for American business than any government program could ever do, freeing up money for job creation and innovation, and putting more money in the hands of consumers."
Evans emphasized that the President's budget for his Department adheres to the principle that "government's role is not to create wealth, but rather to create an environment in which entrepreneurs and workers can flourish and create wealth." In keeping with that principle, the Commerce Department's budget focuses on those priorities that the federal government is uniquely situated to address, while leaving to the private sector those roles for which the private sector is best equipped.
The priorities for the Commerce Department under President Bush's budget are:
Under Bush's budget, the Commerce Department will have averaged 3.3 percent growth annually over five years. Funding for the Department for FY 2002 is set at $4.8 billion.
The President's budget reflects a strong commitment to promoting American business in the global marketplace and supports the resources necessary to ensure strict enforcement of our trade agreements. It devotes $399 million - a 16% increase over 1998to the International Trade Administration and the Bureau of Export Administration.
To ensure the Department of Commerce's economic indicators, including Gross Domestic Product, accurately measure the economy as it undergoes the rapid changes brought by such developments as increased electronic commerce and expanded use of stock options, the President's budget increases funds for the Bureau of Economic Analysis by $8.5 million, or 18%, over FY 2001.
The President's budget devotes $73 million to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), more than a 25 percent increase compared to five years ago, directing additional resources to upgrade spectrum management and assist public broadcasting transition to digital television. Funds will be used to construct a new state-of-the-art Radio Spectrum Management System, replacing 12- to 20-year-old electronic systems that can't accurately measure ultra-wide bandwidth and other emerging technologies.
Funds budgeted for scientific and technology research and services, primarily through the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratories, represent more than a 25 percent increase over five years ago.
To ensure taxpayer dollars are being used to maximum effect, the Commerce Department will re-evaluate the Advanced Technology Program, to see if the program's research and development grants to commercial businesses are warranted, given the current opportunities for high-tech firms. While ongoing projects will be funded through their scheduled completion, the administration proposes that funding for new grants is suspended in FY 2002.
Under the President's budget, funds for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be more than 50 percent higher than five years ago. Increases totaling $270 million are provided for critical programs including severe weather prediction, coastal conservation, climate study, marine sanctuaries, fisheries modernization and modernization of the marine transportation system.