House Budget Committee Proposes Moving BIS to State

(Source: U.S. House Budget Committee Report)

The following is an excerpt (pages 49-50) from the U.S. House Budget Committee, Building a Better America: A Plan for Fiscal Responsibility.

Building a Better America recommends a different path for the Department of Commerce.

Our budget supports the recent Presidential directives established by the Trump Administration to combat the regulatory burden placed on manufacturers and streamline the permitting review and approval processes. The Memorandum on Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing (“Memorandum on Manufacturing”) provides for stakeholder engagement and feedback from the nation’s domestic manufacturers, in an effort to highlight unnecessary regulatory burdens and other administrative policies, practices, and procedures that inhibit economic growth and job creation. Our budget makes the following recommendations:

* Eliminate Corporate Welfare Programs in the Department of Commerce. Subsidies to businesses distort the economy, impose unfair burdens on taxpayers, and are especially problematic given the federal government’s fiscal situation. Programs under consideration for elimination could include the following:

  • The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Program. This program subsidizes a network of nonprofit extension centers that provide technical, financial, and marketing services for small and medium-size businesses. The private market generally provides these services. The program, which was supposed to be self-supporting, derives two-thirds of its funding from non-Federal sources.
  • The International Trade Administration [ITA]. This Department of Commerce agency provides trade-promotion services for U.S. companies. The fees it charges for its services do not cover the costs. Businesses can obtain similar services from state and local governments and the private market. Congress should eliminate the ITA or require it to charge for the full cost of these “Trade Promotion Authority” services.
  • The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. This program, previously known as the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia, provides federal grants to support research for commercial technology and manufacturing. As stated in the Heritage Foundation’s The Budget Book: “Businesses should not receive taxpayer subsidies; these long-lived and unnecessary subsidies increase federal spending and distort the marketplace. Corporate welfare to politically connected corporations should end.”

 

* Eliminate Overlap and Consolidate Necessary Department of Commerce Functions Into Other Departments. Since its establishment in 1903, the Commerce Department has expanded in size and scope to include many activities better suited at other agencies. The Department of Commerce and its various agencies and programs are rife with waste, abuse, and duplication. This budget recommends the following dissolution, delegation of authority, and consolidation measures:

  • Consolidate National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration functions into the Department of the Interior;
  • Establish the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as an independent agency;
  • Eliminate the International Trade Administration; o Delegate trade enforcement activities to the International Trade Commission;
  • Consolidate the Bureau of Industry and Security into the Department of State;
  • Eliminate the Economic Development Administration;
  • Consolidate trade adjustment activities within the Department of Labor, which has a duplicate program;
  • Consolidate the Minority Business Development Agency into the Small Business Administration;
  • Consolidate the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Technical Information Services within the National Science Foundation; o Consolidate the National Telecommunication and Information Administration into the Federal Communications Commission as an independent agency; and
  • Consolidate the United States Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis into the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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