THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT
I am deeply disappointed with Senate Appropriations actions that undermine U.S. competitiveness at home and abroad by gutting or eliminating essential U.S. Department of Commerce programs. Substantially decreased or zero funding for technological advancement and economic development in a global economy is unacceptable and as the President's balanced budget demonstrates, unnecessary. These proposed cuts to the Commerce's trade and technology programs threaten to weaken the U.S. economy, stifle job growth, and compromise our nation's ability to compete internationally -- immediately and well into the future.
Of particular concern to me are efforts to eliminate the Advanced Technology Program (ATP), the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) in the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) in the National Telecommunications Information Administration. Sharp, ideological attacks on these and other important technology programs simply ignore the realities of global competition.
Moreover, these programs prove that the public and private sectors can work together to promote the long-term economic interests of this nation. They work because they are competitive, merit-based, industry-led, and cost-shared, and were created, on a bipartisan basis, after intense national debate. They are a product of Congress' willingness to do what is right and necessary to help U.S. industry and workers fully realize our potential in the midst of the economic realities of our times.
This Administration will fight to preserve our nation's investments in trade and technology because, in the global economy, these investments mean jobs, economic growth, and increased standards of living for the American people. Under the leadership of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, the Department of Commerce has been very effective in stimulating economic opportunity for the American people. Commerce's trade and technology programs must not only survive, but should be coordinated and led by the Department of Commerce if this nation's businesses and workers are to excel in the global economy.