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Shaheen Remarks As Prepared for Delivery Ahead of Hearing with Commerce Secretary Raimondo on Department’s Fiscal Year 2022 Funding Priorities

Shaheen is Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

(Washington, DC) – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) – a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) – will hold a hearing on fiscal year 2022 funding priorities for the U.S. Department of Commerce and question Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on a variety of issues critical to New Hampshire and the United States.

Through her leadership on the CJS Appropriations subcommittee, Shaheen has long been a strong advocate on key concerns that fall under the Department of Commerce’s purview, which include advocating for fair trade policies that benefit American workers, supporting small businesses – particularly those in the tourism industry that have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic – fighting for a fair and accurate census, investing in federal programs to increase economic development in local communities, prioritizing policies that bolster manufacturing programs to create good-paying jobs, supporting scientific research through federal agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and much more.

Just last month, Raimondo joined Shaheen in New Hampshire’s Seacoast region to highlight how the American Rescue Plan is helping Granite Staters recover from the economic impact of the COVID crisis and how the American Jobs Plan would benefit the region and state.

Today’s hearing will be live streamed here at 2PM.

Below are Senator Shaheen’s Opening Remarks As Prepared for Delivery:

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to today’s hearing to review the President’s Fiscal Year 2022 funding request for the Department of Commerce.  Our witness today is Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Secretary Raimondo, it’s great to see you again.  I want thank you for visiting New Hampshire last month.  I hope your first official visit as secretary was the first of many you’ll make to the Granite state.

The Department of Commerce promotes job creation and economic growth by ensuring fair trade, providing the data necessary to support commerce and fostering innovation by setting standards and conducting foundational research and development.  To achieve these important goals, the department employs nearly 50,000 people located in all 50 States, every U.S. Territory, and dozens of countries around the world.  Among these employees are Nobel Prize winners, statisticians, trade experts, and patent attorneys.

In order for the Department to carry out its critical missions, Congress—and in particular, this Subcommittee—must ensure that it has sufficient resources. 

To that end, the fiscal year 2021 omnibus spending bill included $8.9 billion for the Department of Commerce.  I’d like to thank Senator Moran and his staff for working in a bipartisan fashion to get that funding across the finish line.

This year, the President’s fiscal year 2022 budget request for the Department of Commerce is $11.4 billion, a 28 percent increase compared to the fiscal year 2021 enacted level for the Department. 

This bold topline proposal builds off of the Department’s ongoing work to spur American job growth in the wake of a devastating pandemic and economic recession. 

To do so, this budget includes a proposal to increase funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by at least $400 million. 

This investment would be a shot in the arm for the U.S. economy, bolstering advanced manufacturing research and manufacturing assistance programs to create good-paying American jobs.  These programs support small- and medium-sized manufacturers in New Hampshire and throughout the country, boosting American competitiveness and strengthening domestic supply chains.

The budget also proposes a historic investment in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to expand investments in climate research and improve community resilience to counter the effects of climate change.  These investments are crucial to support New Hampshire’s seacoast and fisheries. 

They also come at an inflection point for our planet: last month, for the first time in recorded history, the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide was measured at more than 420 parts per million. 

This grim milestone marks the halfway point on our path toward doubling pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide. 

How do we know this milestone has been reached?  Because of the work of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratories, which are the world’s gold standard in climate research.  NOAA truly represents the tip of the spear in our fight against climate change, and this budget supports their mission.

New Hampshire is an exporting state, and the Department plays a crucial role in opening up new markets for my state’s small businesses, so I am pleased that this budget request guarantees the Department’s trade bureaus are sufficiently resourced and staffed to ensure fair trade and U.S. competitiveness. 

On a related note, I am also pleased that, last week, you joined Ambassador Tai in announcing the start of discussions with the European Commission to address global steel and aluminum capacity.  The Section 232 tariffs have overwhelmed many New Hampshire businesses already reeling from the pandemic, so this move is encouraging.  Today we look forward to learning more about the Department’s strategy regarding the tariffs.

Now, on a separate topic, I want to congratulate the Census Bureau and its employees on executing the 2020 Decennial Census under unprecedented conditions.  The constitutionally-required decennial count has outsized implications for towns, cities, counties, and states across our country, directing apportionment and more than $675 billion in federal formula funding every year. 

I am interested in hearing about the Department’s plans for processing the redistricting data and whether the Department has any “lessons learned” from the 2020 Census.

Finally, turning to the Economic Development Administration, just last week, EDA announced a $300,000 CARES Act grant to help promote the Monadnock Region and facilitate economic growth—part of the $1.5 billion provided to EDA in the CARES Act.  Businesses in New Hampshire and around the country are also eager to hear about the Department’s plans for releasing the $3 billion provided under the American Rescue Plan, particularly the $750 million designated to assist communities suffering from job losses in the travel, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries.

Secretary Raimondo, I have only scratched the surface of the many matters we have to discuss.  It’s no exaggeration to say that the Department’s responsibilities affect every facet of American life, so I very much look forward to your testimony here today. Thank you for your willingness to appear before us.