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Coupled with our continued implementation of several important management and planning initiatives to improve the quality and delivery of the Department's services, the fulfillment of these three strategic objectives will ensure that the Department of Commerce delivers the maximum possible return to the American people on the programs covered by our $4.9 billion budget request for Fiscal Year 1999. On behalf of the Department, I welcome the challenges of making good on the commitments that are reflected in our budget.
FY 1999 COMMERCE BUDGET IN BRIEF
ABOUT THE BUDGET IN BRIEF
This Budget in Brief serves several purposes. It provides a policy overview of the Department of Commerce's bureaus and major programs, and it cites the ways they address the Nation's needs. It summarizes the activities we plan to accomplish in FY 1999 and identifies the resources we need in order to conduct them.
The Budget in Brief contains several sections. The Introduction highlights the Commerce Department's programmatic missions and describes the ways we support the President's agenda. The Introduction also identifies the overall resource levels that we seek for FY 1999, and describes the other components of our budget request.
The Introduction cites the specific initiatives we will conduct in FY 1999 and describes why they are important. The Introduction also focuses on our strategic planning activities, provides a framework which links our programs and goals together and demonstrates the synergy between them, and shows how FY 1999 progress in meeting our goals can be measured. The final part of the Introduction provides summaries of Departmental and bureau levels of budget authority, outlays, and employment.
Following the Introduction, the Budget in Brief provides chapters which provide bureau-by-bureau summaries of our program activities, budget requests, and performance measures.
The last portion of the Budget in Brief contains additional summary and technical information, legislative requirements, and a glossary of terms used in the Budget in Brief.
The Budget in Brief is also available electronically, through the Department of Commerce's website, at http://www.doc.gov/bmi/budget
The projections telling us that the end of the Federal budget deficit is at hand - a conclusion reached by both the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office - are indeed good news for the Nation. This signals that the Administration's strategy of creating jobs through increased trade and American competitiveness at home and abroad, and of keeping tight controls on Federal spending -seeking increases only for the highest priority investment programs with the best "return on investment" for America - has been a success. The Department of Commerce has played a critical role in the Administration's investment strategy over the last five years, and we seek to continue that track record into FY 1999.
The Commerce Department's programs provide vital services to the Nation's families, businesses and industries, communities, universities and research organizations, and Federal, State, and local governments. The Department provided these services against a backdrop of increasing expectations and demand for our programs' services, but with resource levels that generally failed to keep up with the rising demands. Indeed, our FY 1999 budget request of $4.9 billion is essentially the same, in constant dollars, as it was a decade ago.
The Department of Commerce plays a key role in America's world-class leadership in science, technology, trade, and information. The Department implements programs that support R&D and promote the application of innovative technologies to commercialization of business processes; protect life and physical property, manage natural resources and tell us much about the natural environment; ensure protection of intellectual property; expand opportunities in the international marketplace through export licensing; provide management and technical assistance to minority business and economically distressed areas, and collect and disseminate economic and demographic data and environmental information used by private and public sector policymakers and to measure our national economic well-being.
1997 was full of examples showing how the Department provides that leadership. A Commerce scientist at NIST - Dr. William Phillips - won the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics in recognition of his research in the laser cooling of atoms. NOAA climate scientists provided a six-month forecast for one of the biggest El Niño events of this century. We also granted 112,646 new patents for things that were only dreamed of a short time ago such as a process for detecting a gene that is predisposed to breast cancer, and the gas-powered fuel cell - which will help raise further the American family's quality of life, and make American business and industry more productive, safe, and efficient.
In FY 1998, Commerce will continue its commitment to the health and sustainability of our oceans, focusing efforts during 1998's Year of the Ocean. In particular, NOAA will focus on improving the quality of coastal waters, protecting habitat for marine resources, understanding and predicting the role of the oceans as a driver of global climate, making marine transportation safer and more efficient, and building awareness of the importance of oceans in our daily lives. Our FY 1999 efforts will build on this foundation.
America's small and medium-sized businesses are the heart of the Nation's economy and the focal point for Commerce programs. We provided critical technical help and information to these businesses, enabling them to grow and bolster the American economy during the last five years. This help ranges from advances in telecommunications -- critically important to the thousands of small businesses that are run from home or small offices to high-tech processes SO necessary for medium-sized businesses' capacities to produce new products on a large scale.
14.6 million new jobs have been created in the last five years, and we know that wages in exporting jobs are 13 percent higher than the average for all jobs in the non-farm sector. The Department of Commerce plays key advocacy and market development roles in the Nation's exporting and international trade activities and points the way for our Nation's exporters. Fulfilling our leadership role with the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, we are pressing the National Export Strategy into areas that will help keep America a successful competitor in the global marketplace.
The economic development assistance that the Commerce Department provides to communities
across the Nation helps these communities to attract industry, recover from natural and economic disasters, and make permanent improvements to their economic bases.
But the Nation's capacity to produce jobs, support the growth of business and industry, and sustain communities remains vulnerable to the forces of nature and the availability of resources. The services of the National Weather Service protect virtually every American family's daily life and every basic industry -farming, transportation, fishing, tourism. Other Commerce programs, like our support for coastal communities, and our air and water research, help ensure that the Nation enjoys a healthy natural environment within which to thrive.
All of our activities have strengthened the Nation's economy, and this stronger economy has allowed the Nation to reach its long-awaited goal of balancing the Federal budget, which will occur for the first time in three decades. The budget deficit - which dropped from $290.4 billion in FY 1992 to $22.6 billion in FY 1997 - is at its lowest dollar level since 1974. As a percent of GDP, the deficit dropped to 0.3 percent, the lowest rate since 1970. The Nation's overall economy has grown at a 2.8 percent annual rate over the past five years, and we can now look forward to an era of balanced budgets and the true opportunity for long-term investment, which will build and sustain a sound future for coming generations.
For FY 1999, the Administration has established highpriority Initiatives which address the Nation's most critical and timely needs, and which do so within the limitations of a balanced budget. The Secretary seeks to support the President's agenda by proposing a limited number of critical Initiatives which flow directly from our strengths and which build on our basic programs. But even when added together, our total FY 1999 request in support of American businesses, communities, universities, and families, still leaves the Commerce budget (excluding the once-a-decade Decennial Census' resources) as the smallest of any Cabinet agency.
accuracy at acceptable cost. After several years of study, the Academy found that no amount of money spent on traditional methods could achieve satisfactory accuracy. The Academy recommended that traditional methods be complemented with scientific sampling along the lines that the Census Bureau has adopted for 2000.
FY 1999 is the critical year of preparation for Census 2000 as several preparatory activities need to be completed, including: completing all address listing work; setting up the field infrastructure; printing questionaires, and developing and manufacturing the hardware and software for our data capture system. Funding in the request assumes the use of sampling in the 2000 Census.
Upgrade the Nation's Statistics will improve the Nation's information which is so crucial to sound decision-making by business and policy makers. The dynamic U.S. economy has been creating new industries and expanding aspects of existing ones, yet we are straining to measure it accurately. Core institutions in this country -- ranging from the Federal Reserve System to major employers to small investors in financial markets - are at risk in the absence of relevant accurate, and timely information. ESA will improve the quality of important national accounts data, and re-engineer their computer systems to help improve data gathering capability and improve the accuracy of our Nation's statistics. The Census Bureau will implement the North American Industrial Classification System in its current economic survey, improve data used for the GDP, implement new measures of poverty, conduct the Census of Governments, and continue to test the Continuous Measurement program.
Foster Sustainable Development is intended to ensure that Americans reap the benefits from both a healthy environment and a strong economy. This initiative seeks to build on the strengths of commercial and recreational fishing industries, protect coastal and marine species and habitats, and support coastal communities, thus leading both to improvements in employment and economic development, and a healthier coastal ecosystem. NOAA's participation in the