Chairman Cartwright Statement at the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Request for The Department of Commerce Hearing

2021-05-06 14:08

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 2022 Budget Request for The Department of Commerce:

Good afternoon. Today we welcome the Secretary of Commerce, Ms. Gina Raimondo, in her first appearance before the subcommittee, to testify on the Department of Commerce’s fiscal year 2022 budget request.  Thank you for being with us today, Madam Secretary.

The President’s fiscal year 2022 budget request proposes a bold $2.5 billion increase to the Department of Commerce’s budget to further its vital role in our Nation’s economic recovery following the pandemic.  

The request focuses on American jobs, businesses, and manufacturing as well as ensuring a safe supply chain, the continuation of keeping America competitive in a global trade market, and finally, restoring America’s position as a global leader in semiconductor production.  

Additionally, the request invests in our future by increasing broadband deployment so everyone has the opportunity to participate in our modern economy and education system.  

The request also includes initiatives in weather, climate, and oceans research and services that will improve our resiliency to climate change, and create jobs and prosperity.

Our global competitors and adversaries will often seek to undermine or circumvent our trade laws, steal our intellectual property, and impose retaliatory tariffs or other barriers to trade. Bureaus such as the International Trade Administration play an important role in protecting American businesses and industries from unfair trade practices that directly impact American workers. 

That is why I am glad to see a continued commitment to ensuring staffing and resources for the Department’s bureaus focused on both trade enforcement and export controls in the topline budget. 

While our hearing today will focus on the budget request, we also will want to discuss other areas of general oversight concerning the Department.  

I look forward to hearing more about requirements for the U.S. Census Bureau as it continues to roll out the 2020 Decennial Census results.  It goes without saying that the Census Bureau had an enormous, unprecedented task in conducting its operation in the midst of a global pandemic, but concerns persist around a potential undercount, especially of those in hard to count and minority communities. 

I also would like to highlight a couple of other issues.  First, when the pandemic struck, the Office of Management and Budget sent Congress a formal letter requesting supplemental funds to deal with internal impacts of that upheaval.  For whatever reason, the Commerce Department was one of the only Federal agencies that the previous administration chose not to include in that request.  This oversight has squeezed your budgets and hampered several initiatives.  I hope this Administration will not let that sort of thing happen again.

Second, I want to make sure that you’re aware of ongoing issues with hiring, most notably at NOAA.  Your proposal includes an increase of $1.4 billion for NOAA which would certainly necessitate considerable hiring. The current delays in onboarding new staff is incompatible with the President’s climate goals so my advice to you is that you begin to address that problem today.  

We need NOAA to play a very big role in addressing climate change, so they need to be firing on all cylinders. Any organization is only as good as its people, so please make streamlining the hiring process a priority.  

While we look forward to receiving the full budget request from the Administration in the near future, what we know based on the initial topline request illustrates a serious commitment to reinvesting in the improvement of the overall quality of life for the American people and restoring America’s competitiveness and position as a leader in the global economy.  

And we know this proposed investment will only be augmented by funding from the Administration’s American Jobs Plan.  I am looking forward to hearing more from you on how the American Jobs Plan will work in concert with the budget proposal.

117th Congress