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technologies. We are requesting a decrease of $30 million in the Technology Opportunities Program (TOP), for a total request of $15.5 million. This funding will enable NTIA to support approximately thirty new grants to under-served communities to demonstrate innovative uses of emerging information technologies.
The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) requests a total program level of $1,139 million, a $100 million increase to manage its growing workload. In 2002, patent applications are expected to rise by 12 percent and trademark applications by 11 percent. This funding will enable PTO to recruit and retain examiners and make IT investments to improve productivity. As previously stated, this budget request for the Department of Commerce has been carefully crafted to focus on the core functions the American people rely on from this agency. It is the Administration's belief that government should reduce discretionary spending, and we have done so with a budget lower than the previous year's. Although reduced funding is requested, this does not mean our performance will follow the same trend. Rather, we will further enhance economic growth, technological competitiveness, trade monitoring and compliance, and natural resources management, thus ensuring a better quality of life for all
Mr. MILLER [presiding]. Mr. Secretary, it is a pleasure to have you here. Everybody did not get mad and leave intentionally or anything. There is a single vote on.
Secretary EVANS. I wondered whether I was running everybody off, or what had happened. [Laughter.]
Mr. MILLER. There is a single vote on, and it is sometimes easier, as soon as that bell rings, if one of us can scoot over there, cast that vote, and come back and we can continue the hearing and make more efficient use of your time.
We were at a hearing yesterday with General Ashcroft, and we had to delay it because we had two votes. It was like a 45-minute delay, and I know your time is important and valuable, so it is easier for me, I think, to go ahead and start asking some questions and such.
I have a couple of different questions mainly on, I guess, the Census and NOAA.
I think we have to congratulate the Bureau for the job they did. The professionals came through and did the best Census ever, as we know, and we are very pleased with the success they had.
I had my concerns a few years ago. I felt they were going down the wrong path and the courts put them back on the right path in my opinion. I was worried they were going to get caught up in that delay of making sure they did a full count.
But luckily this Congress gave all the resources they needed. You can say a higher percentage went to NOAA and all, but a lot of it is because we gave a lower-the Census does not need the money that they have had in the past. We've spent $6 billion on the Census, and we are down to, I forget, the exact number now.
Let me ask a couple of questions about the Census. We are going to have a hearing. I know Mr. Barron is with you there.
CENSUS AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY
Now on the American Community Survey, one of the controversial issues we got into last year or the year before, a couple of years ago, during the Census is the long form, and it caused a lot of concern for privacy issues, and was it going to impact the quality of the data.
I do not know if we know the answer of that yet. If we do, we are interested to find out whether because people were concerned that the long form would discourage a response, or that some people just did not complete all the questions-the long-form questions, were they going to be usable data and such.
Can you make a comment about where we stand on the issue about replacing the long form and the American Community Survey and the money that is going into that, and such?
Secretary EVANS. Yes, Congressman, we are testing the American Community Survey form this summer. We obviously do not have the results yet, since we are doing it this summer but in talking to Bill and the professionals on his team, it seems to me that we are very comfortable that this is going to be a successful effort. We will be coming back to you and coming to this Committee requesting the funds for the American Community Survey to replace the long form, which will turn into an annual survey of three million households a year, which would be able to, in getting that
many households, be able to provide most of the large metropolitan areas' data on an annual basis. And even, I guess, in the smaller towns we would be able to provide data to them every three years, I think Bill has told me.
So while we do not have the results yet, looking at the form and the professionals considering it, they are pretty confident that this test will show us that we should use the American Community Survey to replace the long form in the years ahead. I do not know the exact numbers on it.
Ms. RETZLAFF. $56 million total in 2002. That is between the American Community Survey, $27 million, and $29 million for the long form transitional data base program.
Mr. MILLER. So the intention is to proceed with the American Community Survey?
Secretary EVANS. That is correct, Congressman. That is correct. And I might add to that, if you do not mind just for a moment, that we really do consider that as kind of a key to the 2010 Census. As we look out ten years and build on the great improvements that we have seen this last Census, the 2000 Census, what are ways we can do an even better job in 2010?
We really think that the American Community Survey is something that will play a key role in that. We think that we will begin planning immediately and this will also play a key role.
We think using technology will help us-using technology to a much greater degree than we did this last Census in locating buildings and houses and using some of the satellite technology that we have.
So it is kind of a three-legged stool-approach. We have got three basic parts we think will make this 2010 Census much better.
Mr. MILLER. Yes. And I see the amount of money that has been requested for the 2010 Census is quite a bit more. I think it is $65 million.
Last year it was $20 million or so. I guess we will start ramping up every year more for the next several years? Any comment about any more about the 2010 Census preparations?
ESTIMATES COST OF 2010 CENSUS
Secretary EVANS. Well they have not presented to me the full plan for 2010 yet. I have asked for it. They are focused on it.
Again I have heard a range of numbers that we think we are estimating of what the 2010 Census may cost or that may be requesting.
So I am really not prepared, I guess, at this moment to talk about it in great detail, but I would say to you that I do think it is very, very important that we begin our focus on 2010 immediately and do the kind of things, to take the kind of steps and actions and, in fact, spend the kind of money, quite frankly, that I think will make the 2010 Census the most accurate ever.
Specific numbers, I do not know. Bill, do you want to offer any kind of backup to that?
Mr. BARRON. In terms of 2010?
Mr. MILLER. She may need to have you close to a microphone or she will not be able to-if you are going to make a comment, introduce yourself, too, I think. Yes.
Mr. BARRON. On a very preliminary basis, Mr. Miller, looking at 2010 and just taking what we did in the most recent Census and moving it forward for inflation, as we can predict it—and I am not saying we are perfect at making those predictions and also looking at the cost of the American Community Survey, if we did nothing, we would probably be looking at a program that is somewhere between $11 billion and $12 billion, and a lot of that is just inflation moving forward.
So it is really that issue that is motivating us to work with the Secretary to see if we can't produce a program that involves some cost containment but also improves accuracy.
I think what we are seeing in the Census Bureau is, that at the end of the '90 Census there was a lot of thought that we have gone about as far as traditional Census-taking can get us.
We think with some of the hearings you have held considering comments from both sides of the aisle there are a lot of improvements in traditional Census-taking yet to be made. That is going to be part of our package that we come forward with.
Mr. MILLER. A couple more questions. Do you want me to come back, or do you want me to finish up while I am started here? Mr. WOLF [presiding]. Go ahead.
Mr. MILLER. Would you just update me on the status of the ACE issue?
Secretary EVANS. Yes, I guess the status is that the evaluation continues and that we have set a fall target to be in a position for a completed evaluation of ACE. Really, I do not think there is a whole lot more to say about it than that.
Mr. MILLER. Let me ask you a quick question about NOAA. I am in a coastal area on the Gulf of Mexico.
There have been a couple of problems with NOAA funding for southeast research, which is what I want to look at, research in some areas. It is one of the most earmarked areas of the whole appropriation area.
There is also a geographic imbalance there. For example, in the southeast from Louisiana to Texas, all the way to Virginia, does not receive equal funding and, you know, we should not allocate money just because it is the southeast, but it is a huge area-and other areas get a very large, and, in my opinion, disproportionate amount of the money.
So I have had a concern about the imbalance and it is partly because of the heavy earmarkings. So I am not sure what we can do, because we do it on the Appropriations Committees here in the House and the Senate but I have a concern about the imbalance for the southeast. We made some strides this past year to help correct that.
So it goes, as I say, the southeast goes all the way from the Texas coast and the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to Virginia. I
do not know if it includes the Potomac, Mr. Wolf, I do not know if it goes to the water's edge, but anyway it is a concern I have, and I just want to make sure you are aware of that concern that we need to keep working to try to keep a balance there with the other coastal areas of the country.
Secretary EVANS. Good. Thank you, Congressman. I will take a look at it.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADMINISTRATION / MFNC
Mr. WOLF. Thank you, Mr. Miller. Mr. Secretary, there may be a series of votes, so, if there is, we will try to keep moving so you do not have to stay here all day.
When you testified, you mentioned International Trade, and a thought was just kind of triggered and I wanted to ask you a question to see if you had any comments about it.
One, personally I appreciate very much the attitude and the position of the Administration with regard to the China issue so far. I know Secretary Daley had a big part up here with regard to MFN or PNTR. I never quite understood why they changed it. MFN was like Coca-Cola. Everyone knew about it. We had passed it for Jackson-Vannick, and yet I think I know why they maybe changed it. Because the American people would have been confused by going to PNTR, but MFN or PNTR.
When you are looking at these issues with regard to trade and China—and I am generally a free-trader, although I do not worship at the free trade altar-insofar as, you know, there was tremendous and totally free trade with Nazi Germany. You should read Tony Blankley's column that he did the other day for The Washington Times whereby the British were trading with the Nazis right up to the time that the German Army was crossing the border.
But when you think in terms of China, if you think in terms of these issues, there are 14 Catholic bishops in jail in China today. There were 12 up until two weeks ago. Two were arrested, one on Good Friday. And you know the importance of Good Friday. And another was arrested just thereafter.
So there are 14 that are in prison. The one that was arrested on Good Friday had been in jail for 30 years before that. And you know the problem the Church is having in China.
There are about 150 to 200-it is a moving number-Protestant pastors, house church pastors, who basically hold services in their homes because they cannot have churches.
I was in Tibet several years ago. We went in through the back way with a trekking group, and I broke off and we met with a lot of the Buddhist monks and nuns who told us of the plundering and the torture-I mean, not torture in the sense that but real torture and the persecution of those who are Buddhists. They have destroyed three to four thousand monasteries. It would be like St. Albans being destroyed.
They are persecuting the Moslems in the northwest portion of the country tremendously. Very few people speak out. Not many people know there are many Moslems there, but there are really about 50 million.