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Commerce, Justice, Science, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - July 26, 2007)

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I rise in support of the Stearns amendment. In the interest of transparency, for a dozen years I was on the board of the Morristown Salvation Army in New Jersey, and anybody who has been associated with this organization knows that they work in the trenches for the poorest of the poor. They do a remarkable job, and they work with those that are English speakers as well as those who would not speak English.

It seems to me that the EEOC has been somewhat shopping for another venue here, while the Salvation Army, I think, is truly doing the Lord's work. And for them to expend, as apparently they have, tens of thousands of dollars in some sort of a lawsuit as a result of this EEOC litigation, I think quite honestly is an absolute travesty.

I am pleased to yield to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Stearns), the sponsor of the amendment, and I commend him and others for supporting this amendment.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment, but certainly know where his heart is because he's been diligent and persistent.

The directed spending included in our committee's report augments and, in some cases, enhances the administration's own earmarks with congressional priorities, which is entirely appropriate. Funding recommendations included in our report were made in full compliance with the applicable rules and procedures of the House. So there's total transparency.

On a bipartisan basis, I've worked with Chairman Mollohan in reviewing all of the requests before the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee, all of the Member requests, and we recommend funding for this and other projects which people will try to take out.

We believe these projects have merit, and what's most appropriate is that Members are willing to come to the floor to defend their projects, and that's necessary because we need to hear from them as to their merit. They know their States, and they know their districts, and that's why we're supporting this process.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, before I yield to the gentleman from Arizona, let me associate myself with the remarks of Chairman Mollohan.

I have every confidence, and even more so, from hearing from the gentleman from Indiana, that this project has merit. He has had the opportunity to expand on what we saw in a digested form, and I think he has made a strong case for this project. He is willing to put his name on the project, which means his integrity is backing that project.

I salute him for what he is doing. I oppose the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Flake).

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Reclaiming my time, and just for the record, the bill has approximately 1,100 earmarks, which is about one-fourth of what we had last year. We are, indeed, making some progress in reducing the number.

In any case, Members come forward to defend their earmarks, which I think is entirely appropriate. There is far more transparency, far less in the way of earmarks. I think the process has been vastly improved.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment, and I reserve a point of order.

The FBI's use of National Security Letters is a very important issue. It should be addressed by authorizing committees. I would like to point out, which I know the sponsor knows, that it is his Judiciary Committee that is the authorizing committee, and I respect that, and I know he exercises a very powerful position on that committee.

This amendment requires the Department of Justice to report on its use of National Security Letters before they can issue any new National Security Letters. As we all know, the Department of Justice Inspector General released a report on the FBI's abuse of the National Security Letters in March. I hope the Judiciary Committee has been asking the Department of Justice questions. I am sure they have. Perhaps they should even mark up a bill to reform the FBI's use of National Security Letters after they have further studied this issue if they feel the reforms made by the FBI are not sufficient to date.

Despite past abuses of National Security Letters, we know that they are an important intelligence tool. We also know that al Qaeda has reestablished its central organization, training infrastructure, and lines of global communications, and that the National Intelligence Estimate has put the United States, in the words of that estimate, ``in a heightened threat environment status.'' Taking away this important intelligence tool, these National Security Letters, from the Department of Justice while they compile a report, given this heightened threat environment, is not prudent. The use of National Security Letters is a very important issue that should be considered carefully and not debated for a few minutes on an appropriations bill.

I urge rejection of the amendment, and I insist on my point of order.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Chairman, let me say I am in accord with Chairman Mollohan in terms of supporting the mark we have in the bill, and I also support Congresswoman DeLauro.

From a New Jersey perspective, in the interest of transparency, I rise in support of the work of the East Coast Shellfish Research Institute of Tom's River in Congressman JIM SAXTON's district. They do some good work. They work with other institutes around the Nation. And so I strongly support the retention of the language on this project in the bill.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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