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Highlights from the President's FY 2018 Budget Request: Dept. of Commerce

May 26, 2017

Unless otherwise noted, all FY 2018 figures are from the department’s budget justification, and all FY 2017 figures are from committee reports for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017.

The Department of Commerce houses a variety of science- and innovation-relevant agencies, most of which receive substantial cuts in the administration’s FY 2018 budget. Collectively, Commerce would lose many of its initiatives targeted to entrepreneurs, most notably the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

Economic Development Administration

The proposal would virtually eliminate EDA, requesting no program dollars ($237.0 million in FY 2017) and $30 million for administrative expenses related to closing the agency ($9 million, 23.1 percent decrease). RIS, including both the i6 Challenge and Seed Fund funding lines, would be eliminated ($17.0 million in FY 2017), along with all other EDA-sponsored programs. The administration would handle outstanding revolving loan fund grants by defederalizing these commitments, allowing state and local governments to make their own determinations for the futures of these funds.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST would see substantial cuts across the agency. MEP would be reduced to $6.0 million for expenses related to ending the program ($124.0 million, 95.4 percent decrease). Manufacturing USA funding would be limited to $10 million for the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals and $5 million for network coordination ($10.0 million, 40.0 percent decrease). NIST’s Scientific & Technical Research & Services initiatives would be reduced to $600.0 million, a decrease of $90.0 million (13.0 percent), with most of the cuts focused on environmental measurement and standards.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The budget would increase NTIA’s funding by 12.5 percent to $36.0 million in FY 2018. This increase was apparently not the administration’s intention, however, as the budget expected a higher FY 2017 funding level than was ultimately enacted. Under the administration’s plan, funding for spectrum management would have remained approximately level while all other activities would receive reduced funding.

Minority Business Development Agency

MBDA would see a decline of $28 million to an FY 2018 funding level of $6 million (82.4 percent decrease). These costs would cover expenses for closing the agency.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA would receive a $0.4 billion reduction in Operations, Research and Facilities funding, leaving $3.0 billion available (11.9 percent decrease). Most of the cuts would go to close NOAA’s Air Resources Lab and Office of Education.

Census Bureau

The budget would provide the Census with $1.8 billion in funding, an increase of $0.4 billion (25.4 percent).

Economic and Statistical Analysis

ESA would see its funding for various data initiatives decrease by $10.3 million to $97.0 million in FY 2018 (9.6 percent decrease).

International Trade Administration

The budget would decrease ITA funding by $40.5 million[1] to $442.5 million (8.8 percent decrease) in appropriations.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The USPTO is funded through fee collections and not appropriations. The budget proposal assumes the office would have a budget of $3.5 billion in FY 2018, an increase of $0.3 billion over Congress’ expectations for FY 2017.


[1] An earlier version of this article cited the difference as $42.5 million. However, the enrolled FY 2017 budget assumed a higher level of fee collection for ITA, accounting for $2 million of the difference in appropriations.

federal budget, fy18 budget, dept of commerce