Chairman Cartwright Statement at Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the Department of Commerce Hearing

2022-05-12 11:03

Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the Department of Commerce.

Good morning.  Today, we welcome the Secretary of Commerce, Ms. Gina Raimondo, in her second appearance before the Subcommittee, to testify on the Department of Commerce’s fiscal year 2023 budget request.

Madam Secretary, since we last convened it would be safe to say you’ve had a busy year, and I want to begin by applauding the Commerce Department for moving swiftly to implement export restrictions on Russia and Belarus, as well as adding hundreds of Russian and Belarusian entities to the Department’s “Entity List” in response to the unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

This Subcommittee is eager to hear more about how the Ukraine-related resources the Administration received in March will be utilized to prevent Russia and Belarus from receiving the tools and technologies of war.

The President’s fiscal year 2023 budget request of $11.7 billion total for the Department of Commerce represents a $1.8 billion increase for the Department’s important and diverse missions, which are all critical to quality of life for the American people and our competitiveness in the world.

As the nation continues to recover from the global pandemic, the Department plays an important role to help strengthen and secure our supply chains, as well as keep American businesses successful in the global trade market.
The President’s FY ’23 request includes an almost 20% increase for the International Trade Administration, including a $10.9 million increase to strengthen supply resilience across manufacturing and services industries and to support the Department’s efforts on behalf of the semiconductor industry.  I look forward to hearing more about these new initiatives.

Additionally, it’s no secret that our global competitors and adversaries often seek to undermine or circumvent our trade laws, steal our intellectual property, and impose retaliatory tariffs or other barriers to trade.  I also look forward to hearing how the Department’s request will protect American businesses from international practices that hurt their bottom lines and their workers.

This budget also focuses on making strong local impacts with a 30% increase for the Economic Development Administration.  Investing more in public works, research and development, and regional job growth strategies will help put us in solid shape for years to come.

Turning to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this Subcommittee will be asking you about a number of investments planned to improve our understanding of climate and weather systems.

Unfortunately, as a society, it seems like we’re a little like the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote – when he runs over a cliff without even realizing it.

For most of our time as a species, we’ve been running on the “solid ground” of a stable climate.  But today, that stable climate is gone, but we’ve yet to look down and see that we’re about to fall.

We continue to live our lives as if the ground were still under our feet.  But it isn’t.  We’re over the ledge.

Every day, we hear about catastrophic droughts and fires.  New studies about the state of nature confirm that a fifth of all species on Earth are at risk of extinction.  Coral reefs in the Florida Keys have only two percent of their historic amount of coral remaining.

So, it’s time to look down and see how just much trouble we’re in.  NOAA is the agency in the Federal government responsible for telling us where new ground might be found, or for providing information to help us fashion a parachute.

NOAA also must help us plan new infrastructure that’s adequately resilient.  The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will fund historic construction, but those hundreds of billions of dollars need to be spent efficiently. 

Five years ago, the prevailing estimates for sea level rise by 2050 varied between 6 inches and 2 feet.  That was a huge range to consider if you were an oceanside mayor trying to make decisions about coastal infrastructure.

Today, with some modest investments in ocean science at NOAA by this Subcommittee, the 2022 Sea Level Rise report tells us with great certainty that by 2050 sea level will rise between 10 and 12 inches.

That’s a scientific leap in predictive accuracy that’s invaluable as communities plan to protect their shorelines.  It gives them a chance to proceed with construction that can be effective for decades.

So, the steps your budget takes to advance climate research and related services are the right ones.  They will provide a return on investment that we’d be foolish not to pursue.

We’ll explore these topics further, but, at this time, I’d like to yield to my distinguished Ranking Member, Mr. Aderholt, for his statement.


117th Congress