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

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. I thank the chairman for yielding the time.

I rise in strong support of this bill. This bill, the first for fiscal '13, marks one of the earliest starts to the appropriations process in recent memory, which is a good sign for moving all 12 bills before the September 30 end of the fiscal year.

I look forward to an open and transparent process as we consider each of the bills, staying faithful to our commitment to smart, reduced levels of spending to help do our part in controlling the Federal deficit.

I want to especially commend Chairman Wolf, Ranking Member Fattah, members of the subcommittee, and my colleague and ranking member, Norm Dicks, and all of the staff who have hard work invested in this bill.

The Appropriations Committee has held more than 100 hearings and briefings since January, which helps us determine the best use of limited tax dollars that we must spread out over a great number of vital Federal programs, services, and Agencies. The Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill is in line with the House-passed budget resolution. It totals $51.1 billion, which is $1.6 billion below current level and below the pre-stimulus, pre-bailout level of 2008.

Within this total, the committee prioritized programs and services that:

One, protect our people from threats at home, abroad, and in cyberspace;

Two, that maintain the competitiveness of American industry and businesses; and,

Three, that encourage the scientific research that has kept America at the forefront of the world in innovation.

Some of these critical investments include $8.3 billion for the FBI; $468 million for the International Trade Administration; $830 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and $2.4 billion for the Drug Enforcement Agency. In addition, this bill includes various provisions to promote freedom and liberty, while also fulfilling our moral obligation to the most vulnerable among us. The bill helps to uphold our Second Amendment rights; prevent violence against women; help victims of trafficking, and missing and exploited children; and bring under control our country's fastest-growing drug threat--the abuse of prescription drugs--which the CDC has now labeled a national epidemic.

We were able to fund these programs at adequate, responsible levels while cutting spending--including terminating 37 duplicative, unnecessary, or lower-priority programs.

Not all of these decisions were easy to make, and I know many of my colleagues will have amendments to offer as we debate the bill. But I am proud of the work that this committee and this subcommittee has done to ensure responsibility and sustainability in these Federal budgets. While making important reductions that curtail unnecessary overhead and wasteful inefficiencies, this bill makes judicious and sensible investments in programs that make America the great Nation that it is, an America that's safe and secure, an America that leads the way in scientific development and innovation, and an America that helps get its people back to work.

I urge my colleagues to support the bill, and I thank the chairman for yielding.

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Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Madam Chairwoman, my district has historically lagged behind others in the Commonwealth and in the Nation, which is why I have made the economic development of rural Kentucky my top priority since coming to Congress.

Creating jobs in a mountainous region without sufficient roadways or suitable water infrastructure might seem an insurmountable challenge, but I've always encouraged my constituents and community leaders to ``plan their work and work their plan.'' With the help of EDA, this is what we've done in southern and eastern Kentucky.

The Economic Development Administration is one of the few entities in our Federal Government uniquely qualified to address the needs of communities with chronically high unemployment or facing enormous setbacks due to natural disasters. EDA's grants, awarded in a competitive fashion, leverage over $10 from the private sector for every Federal dollar invested and are targeted at facilities that are essential for private industry to remain or locate in these underachieving areas. As a result of these targeted investments in water systems, workforce training centers, intermodal facilities or broadband networks, struggling communities around the country have seen the creation of some 314,000 jobs in the last 7 years.

I wholeheartedly concur with the sponsor of the amendment that the role of the Federal Government isn't to create jobs, but instead, to create the conditions favorable for private sector job creation. By partnering with local area development districts, leveraging public and private dollars, and engaging the local workforce, EDA does just that.

This bill provides $220 million for the agency--which is already $38 million below the current level--rejects the administration's request to shift funds away from vital public works programs, and supports a loan guarantee program to development innovative manufacturing technologies that will keep rural areas competitive nationally and globally. With unemployment in rural areas around the country still hovering at well above the national average, this is an investment we cannot afford to lose. I urge a ``no'' vote, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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