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

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. LEE of California. Madam Chair, I intend to withdraw this amendment at the end of my presentation and the discussion.

I want to first thank Ranking Member Fattah for his tremendous leadership on the subcommittee and talk about what this amendment would have done, which of course would have increased funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services program, better known as COPS, to the funding level in the President's fiscal year 2013 budget, which is $257 million. But I want to thank Congressman Fattah for his leadership because we have talked, and hopefully as this bill moves forward, we can look at what we can do in conference to get closer to this level.

Unfortunately, the COPS hiring program was funded at only $40 million in the fiscal year 2013 bill, which is $217 million--76 percent actually--below the President's request. So while we were able to restore some of that critically needed funding with the amendment that was passed last night, it is totally insufficient. It is insufficient because of the fact that the highly successful COPS hiring program is vital to increasing the numbers of community police officers on our streets.

Not only will we have fewer officers protecting our citizens now, but these cuts will result in officers with less training who are less prepared to address the violent crimes threatening our community. We simply can't afford to let that happen.

Oakland, my hometown, and so many communities across this country are already struggling to contain violent crime. COPS has been a lifeline for public safety. It has worked.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I know that we are facing a challenging fiscal situation with the current allocations under the Republican budget. But slashing the COPS hiring program, even as State and local budgets struggle to make ends meet, is a perfect example of being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

We must support the safety of our communities. The COPS program is active in every one of our districts--Democratic and Republican districts.

So let me end by saying that supporting our law enforcement should not be a partisan issue. Our COPS deserve better. I look forward once again to working with Ranking Member Fattah and others to increase funding to the COPS program as this bill moves to conference. We need to increase it at least to $257 million, which is what my amendment would have done. So thank you again to our ranking member and the members of the Appropriations Committee and the staff for their hard work in bringing this bill to the floor.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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