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Making Appropriations for Science, the Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, and Related Agencies for Fiscal Year 2006--Continued

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Location: Washington, DC


MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR SCIENCE, THE DEPARTMENTS OF STATE, JUSTICE, AND COMMERCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006--Continued -- (Senate - September 12, 2005)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 1648 on the CJS appropriations bill.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the pending amendment is set aside. The clerk will report the amendment.

The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

The Senator from Oklahoma [Mr. COBURN] proposes an amendment No. 1648.

Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To eliminate the funding for the Advanced Technology Program and increase the funding available for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, community oriented policing service, and State and local law enforcement assistance)

On page 170, between lines 9 and 10, insert the following:

SEC. 304.(a) Notwithstanding the provisions in title III under the heading ``National Institute of Standards and Technology'' and under the subheading ``INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES'', none of the funds appropriated in this Act may be made available for the Advanced Technology Program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the amount made available in title III under the heading ``National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration'' and under the subheading ``OPERATIONS, RESEARCH, AND FACILITIES'' for the National Weather Service is increased by $4,900,000 and, of the total amount made available for such purpose under such subheading, $3,950,000 shall be made available for the Coastal and Inland Hurricane Monitoring and Prediction Program and $3,950,000 shall be made available for the Hurricane and Tornado Broadcast Campaign.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the amount made appropriated in title I under the heading ``Office of Justice Programs'' and under the subheading ``COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES'' is increased by $72,000,000 and, of the total amount made available under such subheading, not less than $132,100,000 shall be made available for the Methamphetamine Hot Spots program.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Act, the amount made appropriated in title I under the heading ``Office of Justice Programs'' and under the subheading ``STATE AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTANCE'' is increased by $48,000,000 and, of the total amount made available under such subheading, not less than $578,000,000 shall be made available for the Justice Assistance Grants program.

Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, this is an amendment to start us down the way of reprioritizing our spending in this country.

With the events of the last 2 weeks, the tremendous deficit we face already, and the significant problems we face in this country, especially in terms of methamphetamine, the Weather Service, and the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, this is an amendment that will eliminate the Advanced Technology Program.

There is no question that the ATP has done some good in its history. It has $140 million in budget authority and has, this year, $22.4 million in outlays. But there has come a time when we need to make decisions. One of the things I have been consistent on in terms of my time in the Senate is insisting that we start reprioritizing the things that work and the things that do not work.

The Advanced Technology Program was scrutinized at a hearing of the Federal Financial Management Subcommittee of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee this year and had good testimony. I will not demean some of the positive things that have come from this program. There is no question certain positive things have come from it.

However, GAO and the Comptroller General noted that 63 percent of the requests for grants through ATP never sought funds anywhere else. ATP is supposed to be the source of last resort on technology.

I have put up a chart to show the American people who has actually been getting the funding. It has not been small businessmen. It has not been new ideas, innovation coming from small entrepreneurs. What it has been for is the major corporations in this country that have billions and billions and billions of dollars worth of sales every year, and billions in profits. Yet we are now asking the American taxpayer to take 30 to 40 percent of this ATP money and fund the likes of General Electric, IBM, Motorola, and 3M, just to name four.

The fact is, good ideas will usually get funded. There is venture capital all across this country looking for good ideas, private capital that will fund great ideas. In this time of fiscal constraint, it is time we reprioritize what we do with this money.

This amendment is intended to take the savings from ATP and put it in three different programs. One of the programs is the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants Program, which is markedly needed today in terms of drug courts, in terms of drug busts, in terms of helping the district attorneys and State attorneys general accomplish the very laws we put on the books in front of them.

It transfers funding to the COPS Methamphetamine Hot Spots Program. There has never been a more devastating drug to our society than methamphetamine. It is growing like wildfire. As a matter of fact, attached to this bill is a methamphetamine bill that limits and restricts the sale of pseudoephedrine throughout this country. It is a compromise worked out by many of us on the Judiciary Committee, along with Senator Talent and Senator Feinstein, to put the brakes on the accessibility of pseudoephedrine in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

It also helps fund the National Weather Service for two hurricane and tornado monitoring and broadcast programs. Goodness knows, we need that. Different outlay rates for the different programs result in only $124.9 million of the original $140 million being transferred.

In March, during debate over the budget resolution, Senator Levin offered an amendment supporting ATP. One of the reasons for that is last year Michigan got $31 million out of the $140 million. I can understand his desire to support that. But I would also note that methamphetamine is a growing epidemic in Michigan. Law enforcement and the Hot Spots Program to fund the breaking down, the taking of children out of areas that have been exposed to this tremendously derelict drug that is infecting and ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans is important.

It is interesting to note that for every State in the United States, the average funding from ATP has been less than funding for the Byrne JAG Program. The results of this will place $48 million additional into the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants Program, $72 million into the COPS Methamphetamine Hot Spots Program, and $4.9 million into the National Weather Service.

It is interesting to note, also, that many of those who oppose this bill are the ones who seek and have received the most in terms of the grants from the ATP program. If you look at California, where Senator Feinstein will be supporting this CJS bill, California actually received $31 million as an average from 1990 to 2004. However, with the Byrne JAG Program being reduced, their average of $58 million for that program will be reduced.

ATP was created by Congress in 1988 to improve the global competitive position of high-tech industries in the United States. Very few of the things that came out of that ATP program accounted for the tremendous resurgence in the economic activities of the 1990s. Very few of the things have come out of the ATP program, although there have been some. One in Oklahoma in particular, Pure Protein, a company in my home State, had an ATP program. But they also have venture capital funding that would have funded that research anyway.

Many of the program's most vocal supporters believe without Federal funding provided by ATP, countless research projects would receive no money at all, and that ATP exists to remedy the failure of the market to fund research and development. There is no evidence, however, that would support those claims.

Time after time, ATP has been shown to fund initiatives that have already been undertaken by the private sector. Year after year, multibillion-dollar corporations, as noted here, receive millions of dollars from ATP.

Regarding the claim that ATP primarily funds research that does not already exist in the private sector, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found in a 2000 report ATP-funded research on handwriting recognition that began in the private sector in 1950. GAO found that inherent factors within ATP made it unlikely that ATP--and this is a quote--``can avoid funding research already being pursued by the private sector in the same time period.''

A 2002 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta found that ATP launched major efforts to fund Internet tools companies during periods when venture funding was markedly increasing its flow to these sectors. Furthermore, according to a program assessment and rating tool used by the Office of Management and Budget, ATP does not address a specific need and is not designed to make a unique contribution.

The Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, the Bureau of Justice Assistance provides leadership and guidance on crime control and violence prevention and works in partnership with State and local governments to make communities safe and improve the criminal justice system. The JAG Program was created in 2004 through the merger of two Federal grant programs, the Edward Byrne Memorial Drug Control and System Improvement Grant Program and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program. The JAG Program allows States and local governments to support a broad range of activities to prevent and control crime and to improve the criminal justice system.

The program focuses specifically on six separate purpose areas: law enforcement programs; prosecution and court programs; prevention and educational programs; correction and community correction programs; drug treatment programs; planning, evaluation, and technology improvement.

I want to tell you, as a physician, incarceration does not solve drug addiction. It makes it worse. Drug treatment programs solve drug addictions. If we are going to cut the money going to drug treatment programs, we are making a vital mistake, a mistake we will pay additional dollars for in the years to come.

The procedure for allocating JAG funds is a formula based on population and crime statistics in combination with the minimum allocation to ensure that each State and territory receives an appropriate share.

Traditionally, under the Byrne formula and LLEBG Program, funds were distributed 60-40 between State and local recipients. This distribution continues under the JAG Program.

The community-oriented policing services' Methamphetamine Hot Spots Program address a broad array of law enforcement initiatives pertaining to the investigation of methamphetamine trafficking in heavily affected areas of the country. This is the largest growing area of drug abuse in our country. It has a tremendous impact not only on the drug user but on their families because of the danger associated with it. We have seen a marked increase of infants who are delivered whose mothers are addicted to methamphetamine with tremendous negative consequences.

Earlier this year, 53 State attorneys general, including American Samoa and North Mariana Islands and District of Columbia, signed a letter to congressional leadership asking us not to reduce the funding for the Byrne Jag and COPS Program. The letter asked Congress to restore the reductions in these law enforcement programs to a level that allows the States to build on the results of the past, law enforcement partnerships represented by the Byrne JAG and COPS Programs. I will not go into the National Weather Service.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the RECORD a fact sheet on Ohio, an article by the Cleveland Plain Dealer on the meth epidemic striking Ohio, a fact sheet on Virginia, and a fact sheet on Minnesota.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

Ohio Fact Sheet--Coburn Amendment #1648 to H.R. 2862

This amendment eliminates funding for the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and shifts the funding to three separate programs: Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and the National Weather Service (NWS).

Specifically, funding for ATP is reduced by $140 million, funding for JAG is increased by $48 million, funding for COPS/Methamphetamine Hot Spots is increased by $72 million, and funding for NWS is increased by $4.9 million.

Since 1990, ATP has funneled more than $700 million to Fortune 500 companies that do not require government assistance. For example, GE (revenues of $152 billion in 2004) has received $91 million from ATP, IBM (revenues of $96 billion in 2004) has received $126 million from ATP, and Motorola (revenues of $31 billion in 2004) has received $44 million from ATP since 1990.

Since 1990, Ohio has received an average of $6.1 million from ATP each year. In fiscal year 2005, Ohio received $15.5 million from Byrne JAG funding alone.

Even though ATP was created to fund research that cannot attract private financing, a Government Accountability Office study found that 63 percent of ATP grant recipients never even sought private financing. Quite simply, ATP funnels taxpayer money to billion dollar corporations that do not need government subsidies for research and development.

The National Association of Attorneys General, National District Attorneys Association, National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition, and National Sheriffs Association have all expressed support for the Coburn amendment.

Earlier this year, Jim Pero, the Attorney General of Ohio, co-signed a letter to Congressional leadership stating that funding cuts for law enforcement grants ``will devastate state law enforcement efforts--especially drug enforcement--if they are not restored.'' In the absence of this amendment, Byrne JAG funding will be cut by $6.5 million relative to 2005 levels.

An August 2005 news article in The Plain Dealer, a newspaper in Cleveland, states, ``A scourge on the West Coast for nearly two decades, methamphetamine has established a destructive toehold in Ohio, infecting rural outposts, big cities and middle-class suburbs and consuming thousands of lives.''

A July 2005 survey of law enforcement agencies conducted by the National Association of Counties found that ``Meth is the leading drug-related local law enforcement problem in the country.''

According to the same survey, 70 percent of responding officials stated that other crimes, including robberies and burglaries, had increased because of methamphetamine use.

The Methamphetamine Hot Spots program, part of COPS, addresses a broad array of law enforcement initiatives pertaining to the investigation of methamphetamine use and trafficking, trains law enforcement officials, collects intelligence, and works to discover, interdict, and dismantle clandestine drug laboratories. This amendment would ensure that this program receives the funding it needs to tackle the serious problems associated with methamphetamine use and distribution.

This amendment also increases funding for the National Weather Service, and directs the additional funding towards the Inland and Coastal Hurricane Monitoring and Prediction program and the Hurricane and Tornado Broadcast Campaign.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. COBURN. This is an area where there will be some controversy. I don't know if we will win the vote on this amendment. If we start looking at the human faces of what we, as Government, can do versus what business on its own can do and venture capital on its own can do, what we will see is that our parochialism needs to stop in terms of benefits to limited numbers, and we need to increase benefits to the masses. What I am asking by this grant is to eliminate a program that is marginal at best and put the money where it is going to make a tremendous difference in people's lives, born and unborn. It is my hope the Senate will concur with the amendment and that we can have a bipartisan vote to do it. It is also my hope that this is the first of many amendments, as we continue the appropriations process, where we will start making the hard choices--not easy, not black and white, but gray--that are necessary for us to meet the growing needs of the Federal Government in this time of tremendous tragedy along our gulf coast and in a time of tragedy for our budget.

It is my hope we won't vote this based on what we feel our own State gets but what is best for the country and how we move forward.

I yield the floor.

http://thomas.loc.gov/

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