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Challenges Await Gregg at Commerce

By Ed O'Keefe

The nomination of Sen. Judd Gregg to serve as commerce secretary signals the New Hampshire Republican will have a big role to play in convincing lawmakers to support President Obama's economic proposals. It's also expected he will focus on entitlement reform, an issue he's worked on in the past as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Judd Gregg
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) will inherit all sorts of managerial challenges if he's confirmed as the next commerce secretary. (Photo by AP)

But Gregg and his deputy secretaries also will face challenges of their own at Commerce, with the department and its agencies responsible for at least two major -- and high-profile -- initiatives in the coming years.

First, the department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration has overseen the transition to digital television, which likely will be extended by four months amid concerns that millions of television viewers may not be ready for the big switch.

And as The Eye first noted early last month when Bill Richardson was first tapped to head Commerce, the U.S. Census Bureau, one of 12 Commerce bureaus, is preparing for its decennial survey of Americans. Estimates suggest the bureau will spend at least $2 billion visiting households that fail to return their census forms by the April 1, 2010 due date. It also will need to decide if it will allow citizens to submit Census information online.

Presidential transition experts at the Council for Excellence in Government suggest President Obama must now move quickly to fill several mid-level Commerce positions, including under secretary positions for economic affairs and international trade and the directors of the Census and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 3, 2009; 7:15 AM ET
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Hey, I hear Kwame Kilpatrick's, the Detroit low life mayor, has been released from jail. Maybe Obamoron can find a gig for him.

He seems to have the fine upstanding character that is a requisite to be among the scum bags Obamoron chooses to lead this once great nation.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | February 3, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if this is good for Commerce or not. Will Judd fight to restore the trade-building programs that were starved under the Bush Administration? Oddly enough, Republicans have never been willing to put money into promoting US exports. Maybe Judd will surprise us?

Posted by: jay_casey | February 3, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

hey, yourself,

I assume you don't respect any of Obama's team from Robert Gates to Hillary Clinton.
But I'm curious what you mean by the "once great nation". Are you dating the fall from last November or some earlier date, say, November 2000 when the great statesman George double-bush was on the throne in the outhouse? He had a lot of great luminaries running the place I suppose you'd argue.

With that in mind what would you suggest George Bush do in his retirement? Write a book? Do stand-up?

Chris Brown in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown1 | February 3, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Mr.President OBAMA ,
Little Crazy House thinks like Luther King :
It is time now to name also at lease one
'NATIVE = Red Indian'
into your cabinet.


Posted by: hockee | February 3, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Mr.President OBAMA ,
Little Crazy Horse thinks like Luther King :
It is time now to name also at lease one
'NATIVE = Red Indian'
into your cabinet.


Posted by: hockee | February 3, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the posting above by jay_casey. Export promotion activities were gutted by the Bush administration. U.S. Commercial Service is in bad shape as a result and can't help SME companies export as well as it could with adequate resources. As the National Association of Manufacturers has pointed out, Export Promotion needs to be part of the stimulus package as there is true bang for each buck spent. See an article on this at: Gregg also needs to correct the disparity between funding for US Dept of Agriculture and Commerce when it comes to export promotion. Manufactured goods exports are 10x ag products but Dept of Ag gets 3x the funding for export promotion.

Posted by: NHvoter1 | February 3, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

This article fails to mention that a critical agency in the fight against global warming -- namely the NOAA -- is under the Commerce umbrella. I have not seen anything about Gregg's green bona fides and that bothers me.

Posted by: kateschertz | February 3, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

If the republican economic policies were such a failure, why put a republicans in charge of any component of it... The republican got the blame once, why set yourself up to be a scape goat for the new administration? I don't understand how there is change when the talent pool keeps giving us re-treads from past administrations or existing insiders.

Posted by: JJCarpenter1 | February 3, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid the only good thing about nominating Sen. Judd Gregg would be replacing him with a Democrat. But they agreed not to, why? He can't be the only one out there. Repubs have already shown where they stand as obstructionists, why bother? Maybe the Gov will have a change of heart and replace him with a Dem anyway. What would Gregg do, step down? Oh well.

Posted by: sesit | February 3, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

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