Budget aims to boost manufacturing, consolidate trade agencies

President Obama is putting more muscle into the nation’s manufacturing sector in his latest budget plan released on Monday. 

The White House’s fiscal 2016 budget requests funding to launch seven new manufacturing institutes next year adding to the nine that are already funded through 2015 while calling for the full investment to complete a national network of 45 manufacturing hubs.


The nearly $4 trillion budget blueprint builds proposes more than $350 million for the new manufacturing institutes across the Commerce, Agriculture, Defense and Energy departments with the aim of boosting manufacturing innovation.

The budget includes $140 million in funding for the first two Commerce-led institutes, as well as $1.9 billion to fund the remaining 29 institutes in the network.

"This budget prioritizes promoting U.S. trade and investment, spurring high-tech manufacturing and innovation, unleashing more of our data and gathering and acting on environmental intelligence, while also streamlining operations to help businesses grow," said Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday Biden's new campaign ad features Obama speech praising him Obama Commerce secretary backs Biden's 2020 bid MORE.

Overall, the Commerce Department's budget provides a boost in discretionary spending to $9.8 billion from $8.8 billion last year.

The president renewed his 2012 call for the executive authority to consolidate six trade and business agencies.

Specifically, the plan would include melding the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Trade Representative's office, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

"With more effectively aligned and deployed trade promotion resources, strengthened trade enforcement capacity, streamlined export finance programs and enhanced focus on investment in the United States, the government could more effectively implement a strong, pro-growth trade policy," the budget said.

In addition, the budget includes $497 million for the International Trade Administration (ITA), which includes $15 million to accelerate operations of the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), an agency focused on tackling unfair trade practices.