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Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. Mr. Chair, I rise in strong opposition to the Denham amendment. The building his amendment targets does not exist. That's right; the building he wants to prohibit federal agencies from occupying next year in fiscal year 2013 doesn't exist.

The Central District of California courthouse which is scheduled for construction in the near future is sorely needed to meet serious safety and security deficiencies at the current courthouse built in 1940. I am submitting for the record a memo from the U.S. Marshals Service which details these concerns. It tells of criminal defendants being escorted through hallways and in elevators with judges, jurors and the general public. It talks about the physical limitations of the aging building to meet the security challenges of the post 911 world. These issues, along with a shortage of space and concerns for the seismic stability of the building, have prompted the Judicial Conference to list the project as its number one priority since 2003.

The courthouse has been reviewed by OMB and GSA and approved in both Republican and Democratic administrations. For example, President George W. Bush requested funding for the courthouse in two of his annual budget requests to Congress and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee authorized it with bipartisan support. Furthermore it is important to note that this not new money. The House Appropriations Committee provided funding for this Central District Courthouse several years ago. This project has enjoyed bipartisan support from the Los Angeles County congressional delegation.

For the Record, I am also submitting a letter signed by both of our U.S. Senators and 17 members of the California House delegation urging the General Services Administration to move forward on the project.

Construction of the Central District courthouse will address long standing safety and security issues in the current facility in addition to bringing much needed jobs to the Los Angeles area.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this pointless amendment.

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