The House/Senate conference decision to bolster the Department of Commerce FY94 budget to $3.56 billion, a 12.6 percent increase over FY93 levels of $3.16 billion, represents a vote of confidence in this administration's investment priorities and in the Department of Commerce. The budget increases reflect the increased responsibilities of the Commerce Department under the leadership of Secretary Ron Brown.
Congress' decision hits a home run for this administration's civilian technology and defense conversion policies. It demonstrates the importance of our efforts to promote economic growth through civilian technology and address the aftermath of economic dislocation resulting from the end of the cold war. Their decision affirms our goal of building a stronger, more competitive private sector able to maintain U.S. leadership in critical world markets.
Highlights of the Commerce appropriations include:
- $80 million for defense conversion. These funds will provide a much needed boost to the Economic Development Administration's programs to assist communities that have been impacted by the end of the cold war.
- $520.2 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST will be able to bolster its technology outreach programs, the advanced technology program, and the manufacturing extension partnership.
- $70.9 million for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The NTIA appropriation will set a speedy pace for this agency's lead role in fulfilling this administration's goal of an information superhighway, as outlined by the "National Information Infrastructure: Agenda for Action."
I commend the congressional leadership, Senator Ernest Hollings, Senator Pete Domenici, Congressman Neal Smith, and Congressman Harold Rogers, for their foresight and support in revitalizing this country through these programs. It is a dramatic step forward for the United States toward a solid economic future.