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Public Statements

Department of Defense and Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the bill before us today to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.

The budget for the federal government is a moral document. It reflects, in dollars and cents, our priorities as a nation. My priorities include supporting programs that create jobs, promote American competitiveness, and strengthen our communities.

The spending bill before us demonstrates a different set of priorities. This bill slashes $150 million from the National Science Foundation, $260 million from the National Institutes of Health, $109 million from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, $35 million from Department of Energy's Office of Science, and eliminates the summer Pell Grant program I helped establish for students who work while trying to earn a college degree. In order to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world, we must preserve these investments.

As our economy slowly recovers, local governments and social service agencies continue to struggle to provide critical services to their communities. This bill irresponsibly cuts state and local law enforcement grants by $414 million and cuts the COPS program, which helps police departments hire and retain officers, by nearly $300 million. These programs are not wasteful, rather they keep our neighborhoods safe and secure.

This bill cuts by $600 million--or 27 percent--funding for community health centers. It cuts programs that provide food assistance to women, infants and children by half of a billion dollars and cuts nearly $1 billion from the Community Development Block Grant program. These programs are part of the safety-net that assists the most vulnerable among us in obtaining housing, health care, food and are necessary for a humane society.

Inexplicably, while my Republican colleagues talk about shared sacrifice to justify these cuts, this bill increases by $5 billion funding for the Department of Defense. I am disappointed that this figure includes the $1.5 billion for Iraqi police and security forces that I attempted to save on behalf of taxpayers on the House floor earlier this year.

This bill contains the wrong priorities for the middle-class New Jersey and across America, and I urge my colleagues to oppose it.

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