Commerce Secretary Promotes Climate Resilience, Supply Chains at Senate Hearing

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo
"We must boost strategic investments to support American manufacturing," Commerce Secretary Raimondo testified before a Senate Appropriations panel May 26. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News)

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Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo touted comprehensive climate change policy proposals President Joe Biden’s administration aims to tackle over the coming years.

During a Senate Appropriations panel hearing May 26, Raimondo told senators the White House’s fiscal 2022 budget request would set the course for transformative changes in the federal government’s response to severe weather events.

“We must boost strategic investments to support American manufacturing, spur research and technological innovation, advance economic recovery in underserved communities, invest in climate science and research, improve weather and climate forecasting, and strengthen American competitiveness and security,” the secretary said.


Biden has proposed a $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan that focuses on climate-centric upgrades. (Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg News)

In a preview of the fiscal 2022 budget request to Congress, the White House proposed $11.4 billion for the Department of Commerce, which would be a 28% increase above the previous year’s enacted level. The secretary also touted the president’s $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan, which proposes myriad upgrades to coastal corridors in response to severe weather events. As part of Biden’s climate-centric American Jobs Plan for infrastructure, systems related to transit, rail and electric vehicles would be enhanced. Specifically, nearly $200 billion would fund a nationwide adoption of electric vehicles.

“I am confident that the [budget] request will address today’s crises and help American businesses create well-paying jobs for American workers, allow American businesses of all sizes to compete on an equal playing field and empower a more equitable economy,” the secretary added.

The president’s budget also proposes enhancing the sustainability of critical supply chains. It calls for investments in manufacturing to respond to concerns with semiconductor production.

“Manufacturing has long been the backbone of our country and we must strengthen our manufacturing to move America forward,” she told senators, noting additional investments would “strengthen domestic supply chains and help small and medium manufacturers improve their competitiveness.”

For the Department of Transportation, the president’s fiscal 2022 budget blueprint proposes a 14% increase in discretionary funding, along with a modified strategy for tackling concerns associated with climate change. Specifically, the Biden budget blueprint calls for Congress to approve $25.6 billion for USDOT, which would amount to $300 million above the fiscal 2021 enacted level.

“The president is committed to making a once-in-a-lifetime, generational investment to significantly improve America’s transportation infrastructure, promote greater racial equity and economic inclusion, support good-paying union jobs, expand access to healthy transportation options that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect infrastructure from the impacts of climate change,” according to the budget blueprint.

Budget Request for Fiscal 2022 by Transport Topics on Scribd

Senate leaders have yet to schedule consideration of their fiscal 2022 funding legislation for the federal agencies. On the House side, Democratic leaders say they are aiming to kick off consideration of their fiscal 2022 funding measures in June, with passage of aspects of Biden’s infrastructure plan by July 4.

Legislative hearings in the House on the budget and infrastructure policy will be scheduled soon after the White House unveils its fiscal 2022 budget request at the end of May, according to a timeline from House floor managers.

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