TRANSPORTATION, TREASURY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, THE JUDICIARY, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007
Mr. HULSHOF. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the Hooley-Hulshof-Skelton amendment to increase funding for the HIDTA program. For the past 5 fiscal years, the HIDTA program has essentially been level funded at $226 million. Our amendment increases the fiscal year 2007 amount by $8 million for a new total of $235 million. This increase is offset by reducing the bill's funding level for the National Archives by $8 million, which will leave Archives with an estimated $1.4 million increase over last year's funding level.
I would like to thank the gentlelady from Oregon for working with my office on this amendment. I know Oregon has a significant meth problem just like Missouri, and I'm glad that we can work together to combat this horrific drug. I also would like to thank my good friend from Missouri, Mr. SKELTON, for his support.
Methamphetamine use and production is a serious problem in my home State of Missouri. Since 2002, Missouri has led the Nation in the number of reported clandestine meth labs. These labs are an insidious problem. Not only are these labs highly volatile and prone to explosions, they create environmental hazards and pose significant he alth risks for those living in surrounding areas. The highly toxic byproduct that meth makers leave in their wake pollutes the environment and groundwater, leaves homes uninhabitable and puts law enforcement and clean-up crews in peril.
But most importantly, we must take every step possible to stop the spread of this drug because of the terrible toll it is taking on people in our communities. Sadly, I think it is safe to say that all my colleagues are all too aware of the irreparable harm this drug takes on the physical health of its users. Many of you have seen the before and after photographs of these emaciated, scarred--both mentally and physically--and often toothless users.
The recent enactment of the Combat Meth Act was a step in the right direction. This law is a preventive measure designed to limit meth makers access to cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, which is a common precursor to meth. While I am hopeful that this law will help curb domestic production, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to combat meth trafficking. That is why it is so crucial we continue to provide funding for law enforcement programs, such as HIDTA.
This joint endeavor between Federal, State and local law enforcement has been highly effective in combating the trafficking of illegal narcotics. In 2005, Midwest HIDTA, which encompasses Missouri and five other States, arrested more than 9,000 individuals for various drug violations, seized more than 650 pounds of meth, almost 7,000 pounds of cocaine and seized nearly 1,700 firearms. Of these individuals, roughly 1,400 were charged with methamphetamine offenses.
This program is a key component of our national drug enforcement policy. HIDTA's greatest strength is that it is a cooperative endeavor among local and national officials who coordinate and devise a strategy to effectively curtail drug trafficking in the U.S. I believe this is a worthwhile amendment, and I encourage my colleagues to support its adoption.