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

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I am pleased to begin the consideration of H.R. 5326, making appropriations for fiscal year 2013 for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. The bill provides funding for programs whose impacts range from the safety of people in their homes and communities to the farthest reaches of space.

The bill before the House today reflects a delicate balancing of needs and
requirements. We have drafted what I consider to be a responsible bill for FY 2013 spending levels for the departments and agencies under the subcommittee's jurisdiction. We've had to carefully prioritize the funding in this bill and have had to make hard choices about how to spend scarce revenue.

I want to thank Chairman Rogers for supporting us with a fair allocation and in helping us to move the bill forward. I also want to thank the ranking member, Mr. Fattah, who has been an effective and valued partner and colleague, and I am grateful. I appreciate his principled commitment and his understanding of the programs in the bill.

I also would like to thank the members of the subcommittee for their help and assistance, as well as to thank Congressman Norman Dicks, the ranking member of the full committee.

I want to recognize the subcommittee staff, including our clerk, Mike Ringler; Leslie Albright; Stephanie Myers; Diana Simpson; Colin Samples and Scott Sammis; as well as Darek Newby and Bob Bonner from the minority staff, for their work in preparing the bill before us today.

I also want to recognize a number of the majority and minority associate staff members--all of their names and the offices that they are connected with.

Dan Scandling and Thomas Culligan in my office; Michelle Anderson-Lee in Mr. Fattah's office; Robert LaBranche and Ryan Stalnaker in Mr. Culberson's office; Mark Dawson and Megan Medley in Mr. Aderholt's office; Mike Sharp in Mr. Bonner's office; Tyler Grassmeyer, Steven Gilleland and Jessica Talbert in Mr. Austria's office; Jason Lawrence in Mr. Grave's office; Patrick Carroll in Mr. Yoder's office; Megan O'Donnell in Chairman Rogers' office; Jeff Lowenstein and Tim Bergreen in Mr. Schiff's office; Ken Takeda, A.J. Bhadelia and Eric Werwa in Mr. Honda's office; Jheanelle Brown and Matt Alpert in Mr. Serrano's office; and Pete Modaff and Colin Sheldon in Ranking Member Dicks' office.

The bill totals $51.1 billion in discretionary spending, which is a reduction of 3.1 percent below the current fiscal year and 1.4 percent below the President's request.

Since the beginning of the 112th Congress, the committee has cut $13.2 billion, reducing the total amount of the CJS bill by over 20 percent over the 3 fiscal years. We have focused limited resources on the most critical areas: fighting crime and terrorism--including a new focus of preventing and investigating cyberattacks--and boosting U.S. competitiveness and job creation by investing in science, exports, and manufacturing.

For the Department of Commerce, the bill includes $7.7 billion, an increase of $96 million above FY12. The bill makes critical investments in manufacturing, export promotion, and job creation, including a task force and an EDA grant program to incentivize U.S. companies to bring their manufacturing and services activities back to the United States, particularly back to the U.S. from China.

For NIST, the bill includes $830 million, including $128 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, MEP, program and $21 million for an advanced manufacturing competitive research program to make the American manufacturing sector a source of job growth.

The bill also makes critical investments in weather forecasting and disaster preparedness to save lives and protect property, including funding above the President's request for the National Weather Service operations and for tsunami preparedness. Also included is an increase of $126 million for the weather satellite acquisitions, including the full amount requested for the new JPSS satellite. This funding is necessary to better protect Americans from natural disasters such as tornados, hurricanes, and tsunamis, just like we've seen in the Midwest this year, Kansas, Alabama, and places like that this year. It is also with regard to snowstorms and drought.

Science. A primary area of focus in the bill this year is scientific research, innovation, and competitiveness.

Investments in scientific research are key to long-term economic growth and job creation. The bill includes $7.3 billion for the National Science Foundation, an increase of $299 million, or 4.3 percent above FY12, for basic research and science education. This funding will go toward the types of research that will keep America's economy strong by setting the groundwork for the development of new technologies.

Developing a well-educated STEM workforce is also critical to America's competitiveness. More than $1 billion is provided throughout the bill for science education, including $876 million for NSF to improve the quality of science education.

NASA. The bill includes $17.6 billion, including funding above the aggregate request, to keep the development schedule for the Orion crew vehicle and heavy-lift rocket. Commercial crew development is funded at $500 million, consistent with the current authorization and the report accompanying the House budget resolution.

To find the fastest, safest, and most cost-effective means of achieving a U.S. capability for access to the international space station, the bill directs NASA to winnow the commercial partners and advance the schedule for moving to traditional government procurement methods. Continuing on the current path runs a high risk of failure by one or more companies receiving government subsidies, similar to what we last saw last year with Solyndra, and leaving the taxpayer with no tangible benefits in exchange for a substantial investment. We do not need a space Solyndra. I say this to Members on both sides of the aisle. We have heard Solyndra thrown around. We do not need a space Solyndra.

We have received letters from Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, and James Lovell endorsing the committee's approach to commercial crew as ``reasonable and appropriate.''

According to the GAO, we have invested $100 billion in the station, so we need to develop our own capability to get our astronauts up there to use it quickly rather than relying on the Russians and paying the Russians.

The bill also includes $570 million--which is $18.4 million above the request--for aeronautics research. Aerospace is a pillar of the American manufacturing sector and one of the leading exports. This is an industry that creates thousands of jobs in America. This investment will boost our aviation competitiveness so America continues to be number one.

The bill includes $5.1 billion for NASA science programs, including $1.4 billion for planetary science. This amount restores cuts in the President's request that would have inhibited progress on all planetary science goals, including flagship missions to Mars and Europa.

For the Department of Justice, the bill includes $27.1 billion, $11 million above the current level.

The top mission priority of the Justice Department is defending national security from both internal and external threats. The bill includes $8.3 billion, an increase of $148 million, for the FBI, including an increase of $23 million to prevent and combat cyberintrusions. Director Mueller has predicted that cyber will soon overtake terrorism as the Bureau's number one threat. The increase will be the first step in building a nationwide capability for cyberinvestigations that complements the other cyberinitiatives under consideration in the House.

The bill restores funding for the National Gang Intelligence Center, which the President wanted to terminate. Every district in this country has violent gangs running throughout your districts, such as MS 13 and many other groups. If you've been down along the border, you will see many of the gangs in Mexico have operations up here. To shut that down and terminate it, this is a major threat to the country. It also provides an additional funding for FBI's Safe Streets Task Forces. Now is not the time to retreat in an effort to combat the growing gang problem, not only on the border but throughout the country.

Bureau of Prison operations are funded at the requested level of $6.8 billion, an increase of $269 million above FY12, to activate newly constructed prisons and ensure safe and secure Federal prison facilities in light of, unfortunately, continued population growth.

This bill includes $1.85 billion for justice programs that provide grants for States, localities, and nonprofits. Despite the reduction, the bill prioritizes proven high-priority programs, including justice assistance grants, SCAAP. The administration was at $70 million on SCAAP. We're at $165 million.

It also includes funding for missing and exploited children programs and DNA grants.

The bill includes funding for prescription drug monitoring grants. And I want to give a lot of credit to Chairman Rogers for his effort here.

It also includes a significant increase in DEA's Tactical Diversion Squads to address our Nation's fastest growing drug problem: prescription drug abuse.

The funding for violence against women and for victims of trafficking is increased above the current level and above the President's request. There's more money in here for violence against women than this administration put.

We recently marked the fifth anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech. Following this terrible tragedy, Congress passed a bill to improve the National Instant Background Check System, NICS, a critical tool for keeping firearms out of the hands of prohibited persons. But the NICS is only as effective as the State databases on which it relies. This bill includes $12 million to improve NICS records, $7 million more than the 2012 request.

Finally, we're asking the Office of Inspector General to do a follow-up review of the justice task force that looked at cases affected by flawed FBI lab practices in 1990. A new OIG review is a necessary next step to ensure that prosecutors follow through on task force findings and that defendants' rights are upheld. No one should get sentenced to jail for life when we know there is information that has not been shared. So we've had the OIG review and take a look at this.

In closing, that is a summary of the bill before us today. It provides increases where needed to maintain and strengthen operations of critical law enforcement. It carries on the fight against terrorism, crime, and drugs and provides important increases to boost scientific research, innovation, and competitiveness. It provides strong support for all the various NASA missions. It represents our best take on matching needs with scarce resources.

We have tried hard to produce the best bill we possibly could within the resources we had, And I would hope that all Members would support the bill.

Mr. Chair, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. I want to thank you, Mr. Kinzinger, for your work and for bringing up this important topic.

The Department of Commerce can play a pivotal role in educating companies on the benefits of manufacturing in the U.S. We need to ensure that the Department is using innovative tools such as online calculators to assist companies. This online tool has the potential to not only educate companies but also provide clarity in advantages and disadvantages of manufacturing in the U.S.

Also, I think people ought to know this is not only a tool; this is almost a moral issue. We just went through and had hearings with Congressman Chris Smith when Congress was away. The country of China had Chen and beat up his wife and did a lot of other things. So not only is it this issue, it is a moral issue. And Apple, if you have an iPad, it is made in China; iPhone, made in China; iPod, made in China, and those jobs ought to be coming home. So we also have language in there to provide for grants to repatriate, to bring these jobs back.

China is a trouble. They have a one-child policy. Fifty million men cannot find wives. They have corruption in the military, and they are unraveling. And this is a great opportunity, using this tool, but just for the American manufacturers to come home, to come back to the United States. So I thank the gentleman for raising the issue.


Mr. WOLF. The bill already includes important increases for trade enforcement, including $15 million for the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center, an increase of nearly $11 million.

We pushed Kirk to add Chinese speakers. He wouldn't even do it. He wouldn't even do it. We have pushed him to do it.

This is a bad amendment. The offset is a problem. Sometimes you can come here and be for one thing but also want to protect the other.

The Cross Agency Support Account is not free money that can be cut without consequences. The committee has already extracted more than $150 million of savings from this account relative to fiscal year 2012, and NASA will not be able to absorb the additional reductions through efficiencies.

NASA has already been cut. Now we want to cut it more. These cuts will include critical programmatic functions. These are the functions that they want to kind of cut in there. Cybersecurity, cybersecurity to fend off relentless attacks by China. Their computers have been hit. While NASA is a civil Agency, much of its technology also has military applications, and protecting this information is a national and economic--that area they will be taking money from that.

Human space flight safety oversight. We learned the hard way on the Challenger and Columbia tragedies that relentless attention to safety is necessary. Cuts to this account could hamstring NASA's efforts to minimize the risk of loss of life or property.

Verification and validation of mission-critical software that operates the satellites and the space station. We spend billions of dollars on these space projects, and those investments could easily be wasted by fundamental software errors if such software isn't rigorously tested.

This account also deals with medical support services to keep the astronauts and ground workers healthy. Many NASA employees work regularly in hazardous environments, and I don't want to be responsible for endangering them. The procurement account, which is the operation of agency-wide testing, is a big source for jobs. It funds nearly 10,000 contractor workers, and nearly 8,000 are government employees, FTEs, who carry out these activities.

This cuts vital, important things for NASA. If you want to cut NASA, then you ought to cut this. If you support sticking it to NASA and cutting NASA--if you're against the Orion, if you're against the commercial crew, if you're against all the things they do for space safety--support this amendment. If you want to protect NASA, then I urge you to oppose this amendment.

Lastly, I take a backseat to no one in this body in criticizing the Chinese Government. Frankly, this administration has been weak in aggressively pushing with regard to trade and things like that. We forced and urged and told Kirk to put Chinese speakers on. We put the money in for Chinese speakers when they didn't ask for it.

If you want to protect NASA, I urge a ``no'' vote on the amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. I want to thank the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Broun). His heart is in the right place, and I think the whole concept of getting control of the budget is very important. But I rise in opposition.

It would cut the FBI, DEA, NIST, U.S. Trade Rep and the National Science Foundation. Some of the increases are in here because the House Intelligence Committee approached us. As Mr. Rogers said:

There are two kinds of companies in America: those who have been hit by cyberattacks and know it, and those who have been hit by cyber by the Chinese and do not know it.

Many of those important functions the Intel Committee has asked us to carry in order to help and many others would be severely hurt. So I thank the gentleman for the amendment. I think what he's trying to do is important, but I think this would be the wrong way to do it.

I urge a ``no'' vote and yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. This would be a draconian cut. I heard that 5,000 of the 6,000 products in Wal-Mart are made in China. We want to export our jobs. We want to export our products. We want to make cars in Michigan and send them around the world. We want to make things and export them. We want to develop applesauce and export it. We want to export. So I have a long list I'm not going to say, and there are so many things in this bill that are not authorized. There are four pages of things that are not authorized, and if we didn't do things that weren't authorized, then we would have to shut this place down and move off to some other place.

I just think it's a bad amendment. I understand what the gentleman is doing to save money. But I think we need to export and create jobs, and I want to see American products sold in China, American products sold in England, American products sold in Berlin, American products sold in Indonesia. So I urge a ``no'' vote for the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. It would zero out EDA. Last year the House voted 305 127 to, strangely enough, increase funding for EDA by $80 million. This year, we are
funding the EDA at $219.5 million, which is $38 million less than the base appropriation provided to EDA last year. Last year and this year, we in the subcommittee directed the EDA to designate a portion of its grant funding to work with companies to bring back their outsourced manufacturing activities to economically distressed communities in the United States.

So we have asked them to change their whole thrust of the grants, to not do what the gentleman says--and I think he makes some valid points here--but to now have it whereby a community can work to incentivize to bring a company back from China or back from Mexico. Last year, the House voted 305 127 to increase the funding to EDA by $80 million. This year, we were at $219.5 million, $38 million less, so I urge a ``no'' vote.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. I rise in opposition to the gentlelady's increase. The bill already funds the Minority Business Development Agency at the level requested by the administration of nearly $29 million. The administration has not asked for more money.

Also, the offset would not be good. It would cut the scientific research activities at NIST that are vital to increasing our competitiveness, giving the edge to American manufacturing and also doing a lot of work in the area of cyber. Funding the sciences and research programs has been a top priority of both political parties, so I urge my colleagues to reject this increase and to vote down the amendment.


Mr. WOLF. The amendment would cut $21 million we provided for NIST to establish an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia, or AmTech.

Revitalizing the manufacturing sector is important to a strong economy. Is America going to be making anything? Aren't we all tired of going into Wal-Mart and seeing ``made in China''? We have to begin to make things in this country. AmTech would be a competitive-grants program designed to leverage existing or establish new industry-led consortia to develop roadmaps for key long-term industrial research needs and support research at universities and government labs. AmTech will address multiple components of the innovation cycle from discovery to commercialization to accelerate the pace of innovation through the various industrial sectors.

These are precisely the types of programs that we need now to support American manufacturing and innovation, and NIST has a strong track record of proven success in supporting American manufacturing. Manufacturing should be the cornerstone of the economy, and this amendment would help stop it.

I'm going to digress for just a second. When this Congress on two different occasions was asked by the administration to do away with the so-called ``payroll tax,'' that cost this Congress $125 billion. By doing that, both sides of this Congress and the administration gave Jimmy Buffett a break and Warren Buffett a break, and they created no new jobs. We took $250 billion and literally threw it away and jeopardized the Social Security program. They said they were going to pay for it by borrowing from the general fund. The general fund is broke. This is manufacturing, and we need a manufacturer. We need to create jobs in this country.

I know the gentleman has got a great record on the cutting, but this is not the place we want to do it. And I urge a ``no'' vote and yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. I wish we could have worked something out. I visited the RISS center up in Bucks County. My dad was a Philadelphia policeman. I take a back seat to no one on the issue of crime.

But it doesn't cut the climate. We don't go down to that. What we're cutting, basically, is weather. What we're cutting is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research and facilities issue. The account the gentleman is proposing would cut funds for the National Weather Service and the satellite office that process all the data with regard to weather--hurricanes, tornados.

As we go on, no matter what the outcome of this amendment, it doesn't cut climate service. Also, this is the same level fiscal year as it was in the 2012 level and the request. Some Members come down and want more cuts; others want an increase. This bill is below the President's numbers. It is below last year. It is a good program, but it's balancing out.

So I would urge people to vote ``no,'' and as we go to conference, I'll tell the gentleman, we'll work on it. As of now, I urge a ``no'' vote. If you vote ``yes,'' then the money is coming out of the weather. If there's a hurricane, a tornado, a snowstorm, a problem, then you make your own judgment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment. I have had a difficult time getting answers out of the Justice Department. Many times before the Attorney General comes up, we have six or seven letters there, and the night before the hearing we get one letter that says, in answer to your letter of October 1, October 15, and October 28--and so I completely support the amendment, and I urge Members to support this to send a message. I think it is important for the Justice Department to respond. Particularly, they are the Justice Department. So I thank the gentleman for the amendment and urge its support.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. I rise in opposition to the amendment.

We share the gentlewoman's concern for the importance of investigating and prosecuting financial crime; however, the bill already includes a program increase of $6.6 million to the FBI for this purpose, one of the very few increases included under the Justice Department. The bill also includes the requested resources for the FBI to continue the additional positions provided in fiscal year 2009 to enhance the investigation of white collar and financial crimes.

Further, the amendment's proposed offsets are a problem. The aviation industry is one of the few bright spots in our domestic manufacturing sector. It is a large source of high quality and one of the only American industrial sectors to report consistent trade surpluses. $14.44 million will be taken out of that.

This success has been built on the back of NASA's aeronautics program, which develops new, cutting-edge technology for transfer to the industry. This technology makes American airplanes and airspace safer and more efficient, reliable, and sustainable. Pulling back from our aeronautics program today only ensures that we will fail to produce the innovation needed to fuel our exports in the next decade, which will, in turn, imperil America's leadership in industry, with major economic and national security implications.

I'm also concerned about the amendment's proposed reductions to NASA's Space Operations account, which would affect our ability to effectively manage and utilize the $100 billion international space station. We have spent $100 billion on the space station, and I think to take this cut out of that would be a mistake.

So, for all of those reasons, I urge a ``no'' vote on the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. The FBI was one of the few agencies in this bill to receive
funding above its requested level, and I've always been a strong proponent of providing the necessary resources for law enforcement personnel to protect the American people.

As you noted, the bill includes a program increase of $6.6 million above the current level for agents and support personnel to combat financial fraud. The Senate has reported their CJS total a higher allocation. I think they were $781 million above us. As we go to conference with the Senate, the gentlelady can rest assured that we will work to ensure that the FBI has the resources that they need.


Mr. WOLF. Before I make a statement, I want to congratulate Congressman Davis for his work, and I see Congressman Bobby Scott there, too. I think this is very important. I support it completely. And I want to kind of put it in the framework of where we are.

I rise in opposition to the amendment. The bill represents the best efforts to thoughtfully and effectively fund the important programs under its jurisdiction. I am an ardent supporter of efforts to improve outcomes for people returning to communities from prisons and jails.

The Second Chance Act grants help with employment assistance, substance abuse, and does a lot of good work, as Congressman Davis said. That is why this bill, our bill here, provides $70 million for Second Chance Act programs, $70 million, which is an increase of $7 million above 2012. And interestingly enough, it's $45 million above the amount provided in the bill reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Senate Appropriations Committee had 780 or $781 million greater allocation than we had, and yet we are $45 million above the amount provided.

In addition to providing the necessary funds for Second Chance, the committee was also committed to recommending significant funding for the SCAAP program. This bill includes $165 million for SCAAP, which is still $75 million below the FY 2012 levels. So SCAAP was below it, and now we're taking more from it.

So I oppose this $10 million reduction in SCAAP funding because SCAAP is an important program that assists State and local governments with the cost of incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens. The cost is a direct result of the Federal failure to control illegal immigration. So for that reason, we have an increase. We are at $70 million. We have an increase of $7 million over 2012. There are not many programs that are higher.

But also, when you compare this with the Senate, which had a very high allocation, we are $45 million above the amount required. And I know the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Fattah) is a strong supporter of this program too. So we can go to conference. But to take $10 million out of SCAAP now would not be a good idea.


Mr. WOLF. I rise in opposition to the amendment.

The cross-agency support account is not free money. It's not a place that you can just--I think they ought to change the name, ``cross-agency support.'' That's like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, it's kind of cheap grace; you can just kind of go someplace and get some money there because it's just a cross-agency support account.

Why don't we want to cut this cross-agency support account? Because NASA will not be able to absorb this. They will literally not be able to absorb this. This deals with safety, it deals with security, and the mission's success. Cybersecurity measures defend off relentless attacks by China and others. While NASA is a civil Agency, much of its technology has military applications.

But let's get it from the cross-agency support account. What does it mean? It doesn't mean anything. Yes, it does. It is a very important function with regard to NASA. Human space flight safety oversight, it comes partly out of that. We have learned the hard way from the Challenger and the Columbia tragedies that relentless attention to safety is necessary.

Cuts to this account will hamstring NASA's efforts to minimize the risk of loss of life and property. But, hey, let's go to the cross-agency support account. It doesn't mean anything because nobody cares. Yet it does; it's validation and mission critical software.

Medical support services keep astronauts and ground-crew workers healthy. Many NASA employees work regularly with regard to hazardous issues. Procurement support. This account is a question of a lot of jobs. I can go on and on and on.

If you wanted to kind of find it, maybe you should have gone some other place; but to take it out of NASA and to put a spear right at NASA's heart, I think, is a mistake.

If you want to be for this--and my father was a Philadelphia policeman, the City of Philadelphia, 21 years--if you want to be for this, fine. I think you should have found another spot. And we would have been trying to work with you once we get to conference because the Senate, what is it, $781 million off? But I'll tell you, if you care about NASA--well, maybe they don't care about NASA. So if you don't care about NASA, I urge strong support for this. If you do care about NASA, I urge you to reject the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. I rise in opposition to the amendment. The bill already includes a $7 million increase for the EEOC, which will allow the agency to continue making progress in addressing its backlog with discrimination complaints. And in a context of a reduced total allocation in which many agencies and accounts in this bill have been level funded or even cut, that $7 million increase is a substantial show of support.

Lastly--and I'm not going to go into detail--this again cuts NASA by $26 million. NASA has gradually been cut down and down, in addition to where it takes it from.

I would ask for a ``no'' vote on the amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. I rise in opposition to the amendment.

The bill that we are considering tonight provides $328 million for legal services, which is a reduction to the fiscal year 2006 level. It is almost $100 million below the FY 2010 level, and we are $74 million below the request by the administration. LSC helps many people. Last year, 2.3 million people were provided assistance in more than 300,000 family law cases, 105,000 domestic violence cases, thousands of veterans benefit cases, 25,000 unemployment cases, and 20,000 foreclosure cases.

Those cuts would result in 400,000 fewer people being served nationwide and in 160,000 fewer cases closed. This includes returning veterans who are seeking benefits, and it includes elderly victims of foreclosure. The elderly have been taken advantage of in so many cases. It also includes women who are seeking safety for themselves and for their children from domestic violence.

I understand that there are some concerns about LSC-funded programs. Our committee has carried numerous restrictions on political activity by the LSC grantees, to include: lobbying, abortion litigation, class action lawsuits. These restrictions cover both LSC funds, as well as private funds.

The administration proposes to eliminate several of these restrictions, but the House bill does not. The committee conducted vigorous oversight over the LSC in March. We heard testimony from a sheep herder who has concerns about the LSC grantee's violating restrictions. We have included language directing LSC to rigorously enforce the restrictions on political activity. Wherever there is any political activity, we are going to shut it down. We are facing an extremely difficult time, and I think many poor people would be hurt. As a result of that, I would ask for a ``no'' vote on the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. I think the arguments have already been made to the gentleman from Georgia, and the same argument would also hold true here.

And let me say one other thing. If any Member has any information with regard to lobbying or any violation of the law, I hope they'll call, because we have made clear that the committee carries numerous restrictions on political activity from LSC grantees, including lobbying abortion litigation and class action lawsuits. And they cover both the LSC funds as well as the private funds. So if anybody has any information on either side, we will hold a public hearing and deal with the issue. But based on this, this zeros it out. So I rise in opposition to the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. WOLF. Maybe I don't completely understand the amendment, and it pains me to oppose the amendment from my good friend, but this is basically, from the way that we read it, a notification requirement exists so that the Congress can track significant changes in an Agency's activities over the course of the entire fiscal year.

There isn't any reason to believe, unless I misunderstand this--and if I do, I apologize--removing the requirement would result in the administration choosing to contract out government function with any greater frequency or scope. It does, though, guarantee that they will execute any existing plan without any congressional oversight. So, really, regardless of how you feel about the merits of contracting out, we should be able to agree that it's in the best institutional interest for the Congress to know.

Basically, it would be like, and I may be wrong, we are giving this authority. We are saying, Eric Holder, you take this and you can do whatever you want to do and do not tell us. And believe me, he would take this and he would not tell us. I write Eric Holder seven letters, and I get back one letter thanking me and he quotes each and every date and never answers the question.

Basically, I think you have to have the requirement of a 15-day notification to allow the committee to sort of look at it and see what they were doing. But basically, I think it could be viewed, and perhaps I misunderstand the amendment, turning over much more congressional authority to the executive branch; and since we are on the bill dealing with the Justice Department and I've had some really difficult times with Eric Holder--you think Fast and Furious, we try to get information on so many things--if they didn't have to come up before the committee, I think they would have unfettered rights to do whatever. So based on my understanding of it, I urge a ``no'' vote on the amendment.


Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, we have $125 million. We are at the administration's request of $125 million for DNA, $117 million for the DNA backlog. The gentlelady is accurate, it is a very important program. The Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant program provides grants to States and units of local law enforcement and local governments to conduct DNA analysis and backlog. But we're at the administration's request. And what this will do is cut from ATF $34 million. It would require the RIFing of a number of ATF employees; it would impact on the Violent Crime Impact Teams in dozens of cities. The foundation of the Violent Crime Impact Team program is the identification and targeting, disruption, arrests, and prosecution of the worst of the worst criminals possible. We have met the administration's request. We are at $125 million. It is an important program. There will be $117 million for the DNA backlog. So we've met the request. It would devastate the ATF is what it would do.


Mr. WOLF. Reclaiming my time, we have fully funded this. This would require a reduction of ATF salaries and expense accounts. A cut of this magnitude would result in the loss of 268 ATF personnel, including 111 agents. That's more than 4 percent of ATF's onboard agent staffing. It would require that each ATF remaining staff be furloughed for 5 days.

We're at the amount. It's very important. You have my commitment. We'll fight to make sure that we save the amount. I don't know where the Senate is on this. It's very important. But to go above what the administration asked and to devastate the ATF, I think, would not be a good idea. So I'm committed to the program, but we're at the level; and I don't think we should go higher and devastate the ATF and bring about the number of RIFs and furloughs and reductions, particularly in so many important roles the ATF does.

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. May I inquire of the chairman one more question, please.

Mr. Wolf, what can we do? We're at what the mark is. Again, I'm looking at different numbers. You're obviously the chairman. I see a shortchange. But the point is this is attempting to respond to the rape kits in jurisdictions that have not been accounted for.

Mr. WOLF. I think we should. I completely agree with you. And If there is any additional allocation and we can go, we will. But we're at the request, and I don't think that we can now devastate the ATF. But, yes, I completely agree with you.

Adam Schiff is on the committee. I don't see Mr. Schiff here. He's been a strong advocate of this, as has the chairman. This is not a good amendment; but the program is good, and we'll continue. If we get a better allocation and things happen, we'll be very sympathetic to it . But I ask, based on the fact that we have met the administration level, $117 million for the DNA backlog, that we don't devastate the ATF.


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