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Opening Statement by Secretary Wilbur L. Ross in Support of the Department of Commerce’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request

FY 2021 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Chairman Moran, Ranking Member Shaheen, and members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to discuss President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is a privilege to appear before you today. 

We are committed to working with you to grow the U.S. economy, defend our industries from unfair foreign competition, and protect our national security. The 2021 Budget for the Commerce Department achieves these goals: 

  • By providing the resources needed for the successful completion of the 2020 Decennial Census; 

  • By ensuring American leadership in space;

  • By bolstering trade promotion, trade enforcement, and export controls; 

  • By providing for satellite acquisition and vessel recapitalization for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; 

  • By generating the timely economic data needed by businesses to analyze markets, invest in communities, and hire American workers; 

  • And by supporting research, development, invention, and standards in leading-edge industries and technologies. 

In the short time allotted to my opening statement, I will discuss three priorities for next year: First the Census Bureau; then Space, and then Trade. 

The request for the Census Bureau for Fiscal Year 2021 is $1.6 billion. I am pleased to report that, with your support, we are on budget, on schedule, and on track to accomplish the 2020 Decennial Census. Next year’s budget supports the important post-enumeration operations for determining apportionment and the allocation of federal funding. 

The Commerce Department’s Office of Space Commerce is the second priority initiative that urgently needs funding. Our request of $15 million advances U.S. leadership in space as we shift responsibility for tracking tens of thousands – in fact hundreds of thousands -- of pieces of space debris from the Department of Defense to the Department of Commerce. The exponential growth of commercial satellites is increasing geometrically the risk of catastrophic collisions that could generate additional debris and threaten critical space assets. The task of tracking this debris and providing accurate warnings to space operators was set forth in Space Policy Directive Number 3.

Finally, the budget requests $474.4 million for the International Trade Administration (the ITA), enabling U.S. companies and their domestic employees to compete on a level international playing field. We seek an additional $5 million for ITA’s Enforcement and Compliance division to keep up with the increasing number of antidumping and countervailing duty cases. Funding will also enable us to conduct additional reviews of foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies, as required by the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, or FIRRMA.

In my time with you today, we can discuss the Commerce Department’s Budget Request for all of the bureaus, including NOAA, NIST, the Bureau of Industry and Security, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and other agencies within the Department. 

Thank you, and on behalf of the Department, I will try my best to answer any questions that you have.