Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Commerce


ItemCommerce
ManufacturingGrade
CO-1
The Promise: "...will double funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) so its training centers can continue to bolster the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers."
When/Where: Obama Plan: Strengthen Domestic Manufacturing to Create Jobs and Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century, dated 05/13/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/63b5b75c9975289277_ftjhmvsfx.pdf
Status:The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), known as the "Hollings MEP," operates out of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), working with state partnerships to provide business planning services and technical advice to small businesses. This is not to be confused with the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) introduced by President Obama on 06/24/11 to bring industry, universities and the federal government together to invest in emerging technologies.

FY2009 funding for the Hollings MEP program when President Obama was first elected was $111.8M. This was the amount to "double." Here's how the Hollings MEP was funded during President Obama's two terms in office:

FY2010 - $125.2M Enacted
FY2011 - $125.6M Enacted
FY2012 - $130.8M Enacted
FY2013 - $134.9M Continuing Resolution Annualized
FY2014 - $139.8M Enacted
FY2015 - $153.9M Enacted
FY2016 - $151.9M Enacted
FY2017 - $141.9M Requested

The promise to "double" Hollings MEP program funding to a level around $222M was not fulfilled.
0.00
NOAAGrade
CO-2
The Promise: "...the Obama administration will lean forward to deploy a global climate change research and monitoring system..."
When/Where: Obama Plan entitled: "A Robust and Balanced Program of Space Exploration and Scientific Discovery" dated 08/15/08.
Source: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/382369main_48%20-%2020090803.2.Space_Fact_Sheet_FINAL.pdf
Status:Throughout his two terms in office, President Obama considered climate change as among his highest national and international priorities. An example of his commitment to this subject is reflected in his 06/13 "Climate Action Plan."

The USA has had climate monitoring systems deployed for decades. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which falls under the Department of Commerce, manages the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). NESDIS acquires and manages the nation's operational environmental satellites, operates the NOAA National Data Centers, provides data and information services including earth system monitoring, performs official assessments of the environment, and conducts related research.

New generations of satellites under the purview of NOAA's NESDIS are being developed to succeed current polar orbiting and geosynchronous satellites:

(1) To replace aging weather satellites and to join an international network of satellites that share data among 191 countries, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite - R Series (GOES-R) is the next generation of geosynchronous environmental satellites. It will provide atmospheric and surface measurements of the earth's Western Hemisphere for weather forecasting, severe storm tracking, space weather monitoring and meteorological research. GOES-R was launched from Cape Canaveral on 11/19/16 and is expected to go on-line in CY2017.

(2) Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites will carry a suite of sensors designed to collect meteorological, oceanographic, climatological, and solar-geophysical observations of the earth's land, oceans, atmosphere, and near-earth space. The launch of JPSS-1 is scheduled for 03/17.

President Obama's efforts to "lean forward" have been reflected in his annual multi-agency climate change related budget requests.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
CO-3
The Promise: "Will strengthen baseline climate observations and climate data records to ensure that there are long-term and accurate climate records."
When/Where: Obama Plan - "A Robust and Balanced Program of Space Exploration and Scientific Discovery" dated 08/15/08
Source: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/382369main_48%20-%2020090803.2.Space_Fact_Sheet_FINAL.pdf
Status:The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) received $230M from the Stimulus Package of 2009 to supplement its $5.2B budget. $170M of the $230M supplement was intended to be used to improve climate observations and research.

The enacted budget for the NOAA in FY2010 was $4.9B, of which $1.3B was for the development and acquisition of weather satellites and climate sensors (an increase of $284.1M over FY2009) and $600M was for the construction and maintenance of NOAA research facilities and satellites.

President Obama's FY2011 budget submission for the NOAA was $6.1B, of which $2B was intended for the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) polar orbiting and geo-stationary weather satellite systems, satellite-borne measurement of climate variables and other space-based observations. In reality, the total FY2011 budget appropriation for the NOAA was annualized under Continuing Resolution procedures at the $4.8B level. Joint Polar-Orbiting Satellite System (JPSS) and other satellite projects took a funding hit.

For FY2012, the President's budget proposed NOAA funding at the $5.6B level but Congress appropriated $4.9B. Nonetheless, the appropriated funds were sufficient to allocate $1.88B for NOAA's NESDIS program.

For FY2013, the President requested $5.06B, $2.04B of which would be for the NESDIS program, which includes $1.848B for climate monitoring systems acquisition.

We consider that the NOAA's climate programs were strengthened during President Obama's two terms in office.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Other ProgramsGrade
CO-4
The Promise: "...will invest $250 million per year to increase the number and size of incubators in disadvantaged communities throughout the country."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan for Small Businesses, dated 09/11/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/18bdb8988efb99208a_vtt5mvfkt.pdf
Status:Business incubators help entrepreneurial companies survive and grow during the start-up period. There are currently over 1,250 business incubator programs in the United States.

Business incubators are funded in large part under the Public Works (PW) and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) portions of the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Assistance Program (EDAP).

Appropriations for the above two organizations during most of President Obama's two terms in office were as follows:

FY.............PW..............EAA
2010........$133.2M.....$38.6M
2011........$163.3M.....$43.6M
2012........$111.6M.....$50.0M
2013..........$77.2M.....$48.0M
2014..........$96.0M.....$42.0M
2015..........$99.0M.....$35.0M

The totality of funds appropriated to PW and EAA in each of the years reflected above came nowhere close to the promised $250.0M per annum. And business incubators received only a fraction of the amounts reflected above.

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
CO-5
The Promise: "Nearly 10 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year, costing more than $55 billion...will institute a common standard for securing such data across industries."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Strengthening Our Homeland Security" dated 10/17/08.
Source: http://change.gov/agenda/homeland_security_agenda/
Status:Identity theft is defined as the unauthorized use or attempted misuse of an existing credit card or other existing account, the misuse of personal information to open a new account or for another fraudulent purpose, or a combination of these types of misuse.

The following represents the trends in identity theft since President Obama's first term in office:

Year...Number of Victims...Estimated Cost
2009.........11.1M.......................$54B
2010.........10.2M.......................$23B
2011.........11.6M........................$18B
2012.........12.6M.......................$21B
2013.........13.1M.......................$19B
2014.........12.7M.......................$16B
2015.........13.1M.......................$15B

On 04/14/11, DOC unveiled its National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) that includes a national cyber-identity system -- an optional single, secure password and identity for all of a consumer's digital transactions. This system could be accessed via smart card, cell phone, or other website access method.

But the development of a national "identity ecosystem" and standards is still in the works. The first meeting of the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group (IDESG) took place in 08/12, nearly a year and a half after the NSTIC was unveiled.

In 10/15, more than three years later, the IDESG delivered version 1 of the Identity Ecosystem Framework (IDEF), which is now a final public document. We're still a long way from the establishment of a common standard to mitigate identity theft.

The grade accorded to this promise reflects that tangible progress made toward promise fulfillment.
0.75
CO-6
The Promise: "...will create a federal program to support 'innovation clusters' -- regional centers of innovation and next-generation industries. This innovation clusters program will provide $200 million in planning and matching grants for regional business, government and university leaders to collaborate on leveraging a region's existing assets -- from transportation infrastructure to universities -- to enhance long-term regional growth."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Supporting Urban Prosperity" dated 09/11/08.
Source: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/550008/barack-obama-2008-supporting-urban-prosperity.pdf
Status:The America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (H.R. 5116) was introduced by Congressman Barton Gordon (D-TN) on 04/22/10 and signed into law by President Obama on 01/04/11 (P.L. 111-358). Section 27 of this act directs the Secretary of Commerce to "establish a regional innovation program to encourage and support the development of regional innovation strategies, including regional innovation clusters and science and research parks."

In advance of the above, here are examples of what was being done during President Obama's first term in support of this promise:

- Led by the Department of Energy (DOE), seven organizations (Departments of Energy, Commerce, Education and Labor, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Small Business Administration, and the National Science Foundation) issued a joint 5-year $129.7M funding opportunity on 02/12/10 to promote an Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) to improve the design of energy-efficient buildings.

- $30M was provided in FY2010 to Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri for worker training in "green" jobs as an attempt to motivate the region's innovative cluster initiative.

- The FY2011 budget submissions from the following organizations include line items for regional innovation ecosystems/clusters in the reflected amounts: Economic Development Administration (EDA) ($100M), Departments of Agriculture ($136.4M) and Labor ($108M), and the National Science Foundation ($12M).

The FY2011 budget proposals made it through the appropriation/enactment process, satisfying Obama's promised funding level of $200M.

Support of Regional Innovation Clusters program has been sustained for FY2012 through FY2016.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Patent & Trademark OfficeGrade
CO-7
The Promise: "...update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation" dated 11/13/07.
Source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2009/04/obamatechplan.pdf
Status:The House Patent Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 1260) was introduced by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) on 03/03/09 and was heard by the House Subcommittee on Judiciary on 04/30/09. No further action was taken on this bill.

On the Senate side, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bill on 03/03/09 (S.515) with the same title which was reported to the Senate on 04/02/09 and again on 05/12/09. With the adjournment of the 111th Congress at the end of CY2010, both proposed bills expired.

Senator Leahy was joined by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) on 03/30/11 to introduce the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" (H.R. 1249). This bill made it through both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on 09/16/11. While this new law is strong on patent reform but weak on copyright reform, it is a major step in the right direction and constitutes tangible progress toward promise fulfillment.
0.75
CO-8
The Promise: "...will improve "predictability and clarity in our patent system" helping to "foster an environment that encourages innovation."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation" dated 11/13/07.
Source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2009/04/obamatechplan.pdf
Status:Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was joined by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) on 03/30/11 to introduce the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" (H.R. 1249). This bill made it through both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on 09/16/11.

Section 3 of this new law improves the patent system from a "first to invent" to a "first inventor to file" system. When combined with the other provisions of this new law, the promise to improve "predictability and clarity in our patent system" was fulfilled.

The only aspect of "predictability" that is compromised is the backlog of patent applications and time it takes for the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) to process those applications. As of 04/16, the PTO had a backlog of 550,000 applications, taking 16 to 26 months to process.

Nonetheless, this promise was fulfilled.
1.00
CO-9
The Promise: "...giving the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) the resources to improve patent quality and opening up the patent process to citizen review will reduce the uncertainty and wasteful litigation that is currently a significant drag on innovation..."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation" dated 11/13/07.
Source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2009/04/obamatechplan.pdf
Status:Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was joined by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) on 03/30/11 to introduce the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" (H.R. 1249). This bill made it through both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on 09/16/11.

Section 11 of this new law sets the fees for the different aspects of patent application, examination, processing and appeal and states that "All fees...shall be credited to the United States Patent and Trademark Office Appropriation Account" and "shall remain available until expended...". Section 22 of the new law goes further by establishing a Patent and Trademark Fee Reserve Fund where funds exceeding the amount appropriated to the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) on an annual basis are deposited for later use by the PTO.

Throughout this new law are contained guidelines for public review.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
CO-10
The Promise: "...will ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and collaboration.""
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation" dated 11/13/07.
Source: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2009/04/obamatechplan.pdf
Status:Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was joined by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) on 03/30/11 to introduce the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" (H.R. 1249). This bill made it through both houses of Congress, was signed into law by President Obama on 09/16/11, and is a significant step forward to protect the interests of patent filers while promoting innovation and collaboration.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Commerce GPA0.75