Chairman Wolf Opening Remarks on FY 2012 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill Before Full Committee
July 13, 2011 -
"Today, I am pleased to bring to the Committee the fiscal year 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
"I want to first thank Chairman Rogers for supporting us with a fair allocation. We are pleased to be returning to regular order and hope to bring this bill to the House floor before the August recess.
"I would also like to thank the Ranking Member, Mr. Fattah, for his help in crafting this bill, and the cooperative relationship we have established. I would also like to thank all of the Members of the Subcommittee for their contributions to our oversight and to the bill.
"I’d also like to thank Mr. Dicks, the Full Committee Ranking Member for his assistance.
"Finally, I want to recognize the subcommittee staff, including our clerk Mike Ringer, Leslie Albright, Stephanie Myers, Diana Simpson, Colin Samples and Scott Sammis – as well as the minority staff, Darek Newby and Bob Bonner.
"The recommendation we bring to the Committee today contains $50.2 billion in discretionary spending. This level represents a reduction of 6 percent below the current fiscal year and 13 percent below the President’s request. In fact, the recommendation is even 3 percent below the pre-Stimulus fiscal year 2008 spending level.
"To identify these savings, the subcommittee exercised robust oversight, including nearly 20 hearings between February and May.
"These included hearings with the inspectors general of the Justice Department, Commerce Department, NASA and the National Science Foundation.
"Given our allocation, this subcommittee produced a strong bill with strategic investments in national security, job creation and science.
"In the absence of a comprehensive plan to rein in entitlements and our crushing debt, we must focus only on non-security discretionary spending to achieve savings -- which is only 12 percent of the overall budget.
"In the meantime, this Committee mark achieves the required spending reduction goals while at the same time investing in core priorities, like national security and American competitiveness.
"In Commerce, this bill contains critical investments in export promotion, manufacturing and contains a number of new job creation initiatives. Notably, the bill directs Commerce to develop a program to help states compete for manufacturing and call center jobs against foreign competitors.
"For NIST, the bill includes $701 million, including an increase of $10 million for research. The bill also includes $128.4 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.
"We have fully funded the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and have also included funding for new staff focused on dealing with China.
"The bill includes $2.7 billion for the Patent and Trademark Office -- the full estimate of fee collections for FY12 -- and a 28 percent increase above FY11. Should PTO collect additional fees above the amount appropriated, the bill makes that excess available to PTO.
"In NOAA, this bill includes the necessary funding to better protect Americans from natural disasters, such as tornados, hurricanes and tsunamis. It fully funds the National Weather Service, and includes an increase of $429.5 million for the JPSS satellite program.
"Despite a 6 percent lower allocation than in fiscal year 2011, this bill increases funding for research accounts at NIST and NSF. Investments in scientific research are critical to long-term economic growth and job creation.
"The bill includes $6.9 billion for the National Science Foundation, including an increase of $43 million above FY11 for basic research, while addressing concerns about contracting and grant management.
"The bill also includes over $1 billion for science education programs.
"In NASA, the bill provides funding above the request for America’s next generation exploration system -- the crew vehicle and heavy-lift rocket -- and directs NASA to immediately submit a long overdue implementation plan for the program. The bill also continues funding for the developing commercial cargo and crew program.
"I am also pleased to note that the bill also includes $570 million -- which is $1 million above the request -- for aeronautics research.
"As countries like China attempt to challenge U.S. leadership in space, we need a similar sense of mission to guide NASA going forward.
"That is why this bill includes funding to commission a comprehensive independent assessment of NASA’s strategic direction and agency management. My hope is that this effort will draw upon the experience of individuals of distinction and vision, like John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, to help chart a future course for the agency that is bold and achievable.
"Finally, we are continuing to ensure that NASA acts aggressively to provide maximum assistance and work opportunities to their employees and contractors as they face the transition and dislocation associated with the termination of the Shuttle program."