Trump Budget Hurts Manufacturers, Exporters
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross tried to put on a brave face when explaining the 16-percent cutback that President Trump’s proposed budget makes to his department. He said the budget blueprint helps streamline government and make it more efficient.
“It does this while protecting the Department of Commerce’s core missions and directing tax dollars to where the federal government can have the most impact for all Americans,” said Ross’s statement.
The Trump 2018 budget proposes $7.8 billion for the Department of Commerce, $1.5 billion less than 2017 levels. The document specifies around $500 million in program cuts, meaning that another $1 billion has yet to be identified, at least publicly. Also, Ross’s statement suggests that the International Trade Administration’s trade enforcement and compliance functions and the US Census Bureau will be getting more money, meaning that there are a good deal more than $1 million of cuts coming down the pike.
The proposed budget would save $124 million by discontinuing federal funding for the Commerce Department’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. That program subsidizes up to half the cost of state centers that provide consulting services to small and mid-size manufacturers and helps disseminate technology and management improvements.
Also on the chopping block is the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a self-sustaining independent government agency that has helped US businesses invest in emerging markets since 1971. The US Trade and Development Agency, also an independent agency, established in 1961 to advance US commercial interests in developing and middle income countries, will also be eliminated.
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