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

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HALL. I, of course, rise in support of H.R. 5326, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act 2013. This bill includes over $30 billion for four key agencies under the Science, Space, and Technology Committee's jurisdiction: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It's a very strong bill, and I want to commend the gentleman from Virginia, Chairman Wolf, for his continued passionate support for science and space issues in a challenging fiscal environment. Mr. Wolf is a true champion of science, and this bill is reflective of that. I also appreciate Chairman Wolf's work to address my concerns and priorities as chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and want to highlight a few specific areas of importance to us in this bill.

With regards to NASA, this legislation recognizes the budget realities that we must confront by responsibly imposing measured reductions across the Agency's portfolio. Importantly, this bill maintains development of a new heavy-lift launch system and crew capsule. It maintains a healthy space science enterprise, continues to support innovative aeronautics research, and funds the administration's commercial crew program at the authorized level of $500 million. Our committee will continue to provide oversight on the commercial crew program and work with the appropriators to support a program that has the best chance to succeed on schedule, with appropriate safeguards for the crew, and with the best use of taxpayer dollars.

With regards to the National Science Foundation, the modest increase for the Foundation is appropriate, as basic research and development play a critical role in our economic success. I strongly encourage NSF to broadly use this funding for fundamental research which keeps the United States at the very leading edge of discovery and not to blur this essential role with other initiatives that are best left to the private sector.

Chairman Wolf has also worked to sustain the programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, that directly benefit our Nation's competitiveness. The critical link between fundamental measurement science and our economic success allows NIST to innovate new ways to help U.S. companies excel within a global marketplace and create high-paying jobs.

With respect to NOAA, I thank Chairman Wolf for his continued strong support and oversight of NOAA's satellite programs and for his efforts to restore balance to NOAA's research portfolio. The bill does this, in part, by redirecting the administration's proposed significant increases for climate science to higher priority weather research that will help to protect lives and property through improved severe-weather forecasting. This topic is important to all regions of our Nation and, most recently, to northeast Texas, where an outbreak of tornadoes and severe weather in April caused significant damage to homes and property, including in my home county in Royse City. Regarding these weather research priorities, I hope to work with you as the bill moves to conference to preserve and enhance this particular NOAA priority.


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