Biden and Hatch Introduce Major DNA Crime Bill
To help law enforcement officials solve more crimes, protect the innocent, and eliminate the backlog of rape kits awaiting DNA testing, U.S. Senators Joe Biden (D-DE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently joined with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing the Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology Act of 2003. This bill will provide more than $1 billion over the next five years for a wide variety of programs that will harness the power of DNA to help solve thousands of rapes and other violent crimes nationwide. "DNA is the guilty man's worst enemy and the innocent man's best friend. But no matter how powerful a weapon DNA may be in a police detective's crime fighting arsenal, it is useless if there is no money to test the evidence once it has been collected from the crime scene," said Senator Biden, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime. "This new bill will provide law enforcement officials with funds to harness the power of DNA evidence to solve sexual assault cases and put the perpetrators of those crimes behind bars. The bill also provides money for people who've been wrongfully convicted to use DNA evidence to prove their innocence."
Biden-Landrieu Amendment Helps Protect Women and Children Living in Conflict Zones
In an effort to protect women and children in conflict zones and disaster areas worldwide, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment to the FY 2004 Foreign Operations Appropriation that will help ensure the U.S. government's humanitarian support includes specific attention to the needs of this vulnerable population. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA) and Joe Biden (D-DE) ensures that U.S. funded relief organizations and programs serving refugees and displaced persons incorporate protections to prevent violence against women and children. "When war or disaster strikes, it is imperative that women and children's most basic protection needs are addressed before, during, and after the humanitarian emergency. Passing this amendment is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done. We as a nation, and the international community as a whole, need to make protecting women and children in the face of conflict or other emergencies an urgent priority," said Biden, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Biden and Hatch Seek to Ban Designer Steroids
Responding to calls from parents, physicians, teachers and coaches nationwide about the public health threat posed by steroid precursors, U.S. Senators Joe Biden (D-DE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently introduced The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2003, which will add androstenedione (also known as "andro"), tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), and other steroid precursors to the list of anabolic steroids that are classified as Schedule III controlled substances. Steroid precursors, or "pro-steroids," are chemically related to the substances scheduled in the 1990 Controlled Substances Act that made trafficking in steroids illegal. When ingested, these substances metabolize into testosterone or other illicit steroids. The United States Anti-Doping Agency, the group in charge of testing Olympic athletes for performance enhancing drugs, has called these products "the functional equivalent of steroids." "Products like andro and other pro-steroids are marketed to kids and young athletes as an effective way to increase muscle mass. However, I have serious concerns about the safety of these substances," said Biden. "The manufactures of these products are violating the spirit of the Controlled Substances Act and putting young people at risk."
Delaware Round Up
Delegation Secures $57 Million for Dover AFB Cargo Port
U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle recently announced that Dover Air Force Base will receive $57.5 million in federal funds to design and construct a new, 350,000 sq ft. state-of-the-art aerial cargo port. The new facility will replace the existing 50-year-old structure that suffered serious damage when two cargo bay roofs collapsed during the blizzard of February 2003. Even with the damage, Dover was still able to move over 30% of the cargo airlifted into theater for Operation Iraqi Freedom, but five of Dover's regular supply missions, called "channel missions," had to be shifted to other bases. "Replacing this port is part of our commitment to making sure the men and women in the field have everything they need to get the job done," said Senator Biden. "The new port will allow the Base to continue to maintain their high operations tempo, moving massive amounts of cargo and equipment around the globe, quickly and efficiently.
DE Delegation Announces $1.8 Million to Help Low Income Families with Hearing Costs
As winter quickly approaches, Delaware's congressional delegation announced that many of the state's low income families will be getting federal help in paying for heating bills in the coming months. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) has awarded Delaware $1,848,367 from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to allow low income families, disabled individuals and senior citizens living on fixed incomes, offset high seasonal energy costs. "Low income families can spend up to 20 percent of their total income on energy bills," said Senator Biden. "Without some help, these families often face unthinkable decisions choosing between paying their heating bills or buying food and clothing. This money is critical to ensuring the health and safety of the most vulnerable among us."
Wilmington Fire Department Receives Federal Grant Money
In an effort to protect and keep their property safe from damage inflicted by fires, the Wilmington Fire Department recently received nearly $250,000 in federal and city grants to purchase firefighting equipment and continue its training program. Earlier this year, Senator Biden, who co-chairs the Congressional Fireman's Caucus, pushed for legislation to increase the amount of funding for firefighter assistance grants by over one hundred million dollars. This year's Fire Act Grant will be used to purchase 3 thermal imaging cameras, 25 self-contained breathing apparatuses for firefighters, 20 portable communication radios, and 23,000 feet of firefighting hose.
In the Loop
Biden Backs Measure to Ensure Financial Stability for America's Citizen Soldiers Who Get Called to Active Duty
Continuing his support of American military men and women, Senator Joe Biden recently cosponsored an amendment that would ensure that federal employees who are called to active military duty won't have to worry about the financial security of their families. The Reservists Pay and Security Act of 2003 requires federal agencies to make up the difference in salary between a reservist's military pay and what they would have earned on their federal job. This would apply to all of the uniformed services, including Coast Guard duty, and the National Guard. "We are asking more and more of our Guard and Reserve," said Senator Biden. "The least we can do is make sure that they are not financially penalized for serving their country." The amendment overwhelmingly passed the Senate by a 96-3 vote.
Biden Leads New International Anti-Piracy Caucus to Combat Theft of American Innovation, Jobs
In an effort to protect American innovation, ideas and jobs, U.S. Senator Joe Biden, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and other leading members of the House and Senate, recently announced the formation of the International Anti-Piracy Caucus. This new congressional caucus will be dedicated to working with our international trade partners to secure the enactment of strong copyright laws and the vigilant enforcement of those laws. "The rising theft of American intellectual property, through piracy and counterfeiting, has cost American jobs numbering in the hundreds of thousands, and has cost the U.S. government tax revenues and U.S. corporations billions of dollars," said Senator Biden. "American innovation and creativity need to be protected by our government, just like our personal property, our homes and streets need government protection. This caucus will help us find new ways to reduce the scourge of piracy abroad." American intellectual property represents the largest single sector of the American economy, employing 4.3 million Americans. It has been estimated that software piracy alone cost the U.S. economy over 118,000 jobs and $5.7 billion in wage losses in the year 2000.
Delegation Succeeds in Getting FAA to Include Delaware in Study of Airport Traffic and Noise
Delaware's Congressional Delegation recently received official notification that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has agreed to study the impacts of aviation noise on northern Delaware resulting from proposed improvements to Philadelphia International Airport. Since this summer, the delegation has worked with the FAA to ensure northern Delaware's inclusion in the scope of the impact study, considering the potential implications the airport expansion could have on residents in Delaware. Currently, there are three alternatives being considered for the airport expansion. Two of the three alternatives could significantly increase air traffic over the Brandywine Hundred area. In a letter to the FAA Administrator, the Senators Joe Biden, Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle pushed for the inclusion of Delaware in the study, arguing that because of the proximity of the airport and the existing noise problems, the impact on Delaware must be considered. "Thousands of residents in our state routinely endure disruptive noise over their neighborhoods from airplanes flying in and out of PHL (Philadelphia International Airport.) We believe the impacts to those residents' quality of life must be taken into consideration as the FAA seek s to determine the overall impact of the proposed changes to PHL's infrastructure and operations," they wrote.