DEPARTMENTS OF COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND STATE, THE JUDICIARY, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2005 -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 09, 2004)
HON. RON KIND
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, JULY 8, 2004
The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 4754) making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2005, and for other purposes:
Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank Chairman WOLF and Ranking Member SERRANO for all their hard work in putting the Commerce-State-Justice and Related Agencies Appropriations bill together. This legislation, while never perfect, includes important funding for programs helping our local economies grow, and keeping our communities safe.
I particularly commend the Appropriations Committee for providing $106 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program within the Department of Commerce's National Institutes of Standards and Technology. Through a national network of manufacturing extension centers. MEP is designed to benefit domestic manufacturers by providing expertise and services tailored to their most critical needs. This includes assistance in process improvements, worker training, and information technology applications. In Wisconsin, MEP has served over 110 firms. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has repeatedly cut funding for MEP; the President's budget request has consistently cut funding for MEP, proposing an 83 percent reduction in FY04 and a 60 percent reduction in FY05.
In western Wisconsin, the Northwest Manufacturing Outreach Center (NWMOC), one of two MEP Centers in Wisconsin, has provided assistance to more than 900 companies over the past 10 years. Frank Borg, Joe Benkowski, and their team at NWMOC travel throughout northern Wisconsin helping companies ensure businesses are able to compete and grow in the global marketplace. Restoring funding to $106 million is critical to MEP's success in Wisconsin and throughout the Nation.
I also want to thank the Committee for restoring funding for State and local law enforcement activities which the President's budget proposed slashing by over 80 percent. The legislation restores funding for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants and Bryne Discretionary Grants. In addition, the legislation rejects drastic cuts proposed by the President for the COPS program. In western Wisconsin, and throughout the Nation, the COPS program is more important than ever. As many rural law enforcement offices are being called up for service in the National Guard and military Reserves, the COPS program provides resources necessary to help communities meet law enforcement challenges.
In addition, the legislation provides $60 million to help fight methamphetamine production and distribution. Methamphetamine abuse has been increasing in rural Wisconsin, and we must continue to help fight against this dangerous drug.
Mr. Chairman, the legislation before us provides many important resources for our local communities, and I urge my colleagues to support it.