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Hearing of the House Appropriations Committee - Full Committee Markup of Commerce, Justice, Science FY13 Appropriations Bill


Location: Washington, DC

"I thank Chairman Wolf, Ranking Member Fattah, Chairman Rogers and their staffs for their hard work on this bill. The Majority worked closely with our side to put this bill together, and there were many issues where we were able to reach agreement.

"I continue to be concerned about the outlook for this year's appropriations bills. This Committee's Fiscal Year 2013 allocation is based on the Ryan budget which reneges on the Budget Control Act agreement that established $1.047 trillion as the discretionary allocation.

"While the level of funding in this bill may not be as low as a strict proportional reduction based on the Ryan budget, it is nevertheless not adequate to meet the needs in this area. In comparison, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its CJS bill last week with tremendous bipartisan support, and it is $731 million higher than the House allocation.

"The House bill contains several funding levels that will be difficult for Democrats to support. The COPS hiring program is cut by 76 percent, even as state and local budgets continue to recover from historic losses in revenue.

"The Legal Services Corporation is also cut when it should be getting an increase. The recession has drastically increased the need for legal aid for those who can't afford it, and the Legal Services Corporation helps to ensure that access to justice is not limited to only those who can afford an attorney. Both the President and the other body recognize the need for additional funding -- $402 million -- for this program. I am hopeful that we can reach an agreement at the end of this process that allows for this level of funding.

"I am also concerned that some important NOAA programs have been cut, in part to pay for necessary new satellites. While I support the development and deployment of new satellites, it is important that we find a way to pay for them without making such drastic reductions in other important NOAA programs.

"There are some positive aspects of this bill, and I want to thank the Chairman and Ranking Member for funding the Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund at this year's enacted level. As we continue to make progress on the recovery of the West Coast salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act, the Fund remains one of our most potent tools. And I want to thank the Subcommittee for once again funding an increase to the Mitchell Act program so that the hatcheries along the Columbia River system can be reformed to better operate toward the goal of recovery under the ESA.

"Another issue of great importance is ocean acidification. I am pleased the Subcommittee mark contains $6.4 million, which is basically level-funded compared to recent years. Without getting into a debate over the cause of climate change -- although I am convinced that human activity plays a significant part -- the increasing acidity of the oceans is a clear sign that the burning of carbon-based fuels and the resulting carbon dioxide is affecting the environment. The oceans can absorb only so much carbon dioxide without causing a change to the water and already there is evidence that the PH level of ocean waters around the world is dropping -- which is a measure of increased acidity. In the Pacific Northwest, this increased acidity already is having an economic effect due to the difficulties the shellfish industry is experiencing. The increased acidity is interfering with the formation of the shells of oysters, mussels, clams and other organisms. So this installment of NOAA funding for research into ocean acidification is vitally important.

"I also appreciate that this bill provides significant increases for our federal law enforcement agencies -- especially an additional $23 million for the FBI to investigate cyber intrusions. Earlier this year, FBI Director Mueller warned that cyber attacks will soon become one of the biggest threats to America's safety, possibly surpassing the threat level posed by terrorism. I believe that the Director is absolutely correct, and I am pleased that the Chairman has included the Administration's requested funding for this initiative.

"I would also like to note that the bill includes an important increase in funding for the youth mentoring program managed by the Department of Justice, which provides crucial support to at-risk youth in underserved communities and also to military kids, many of whom are struggling to adapt to the multiple deployments of one or both parents. Additionally, the bill provides healthy funding levels for the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and many important NASA programs.

"Thank you again, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to working with you, Chairman Rogers, Ranking Member Fattah and the members of this Subcommittee to improve the bill as it moves forward in the process."

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