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

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PASCRELL. I must say, Chairman Wolf, you've always been a sensitive person--I don't say this to blow smoke; I really mean this--and it's a tough decision when you have to make priorities. We come to the floor to fight for what we believe in, and I think you respect that, and I'm sure the gentleman from Staten Island respects that as well, and we all do here, my good friend from Philadelphia, Congressman Fattah. We'd like to do all of these things and more. But not only did we run out of applications--think about that. People, we said, stop, don't apply any longer. You've got 11,000, 12,000 cops laid off, police officers in this country. Tell me that doesn't have consequences.

Tell me, what are those consequences? Smaller warrant squads. The last two police officers killed in North Jersey, killed by two guys on the lam. We didn't have enough people to go look for them. That's not acceptable in a society which depends upon law and order. So you can't talk out of both sides of your mouth about law and order.

We need police on the streets. This is about community policing. And I would say to my good friend from Virginia, these are two programs that, tonight, we're speaking about one of the police, the COPS Program, and the Fire Act. Leader Hoyer could tell us about that. But they're two bills that are run--no other bills are run better in the Federal Government. I think we would want to duplicate that. Having provided a huge cut in the past, from $166 million all the way down to $40 million, we can't do that with 11,000 and 12,000 police officers laid off.

Our amendment would restore the program. Of course, this is really just a drop in the bucket because it only really hires close to 1,000 police officers. We've already laid off 12,000. And a lot of positions have not been filled. There was no one in that position to begin with.

So, look, the program, the account that we're talking about in NASA I think is $2.8 billion. This is a small part of it. I would rather do it some other way, Mr. Chairman, through the Chair. I would rather do it another way.

My hometown laid off 125 police officers. Same story in other towns in New Jersey. Fewer cops on the beat means more crime on our streets, plain and simple.

If I can't come up here and fight for the guys and gals who defend us day in and day out, and if there is an attack, be it a natural disaster or some man-made disaster, it's the police and firefighters and EMTs who are going to be there long before the Federal Government. We need to protect them.


Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chairman, it cannot be depending on the allocation. We've got to fight for the allocation. We've got to fight for what we want.

I want us all to listen on both sides of the aisle. What is dragging down the economy at this section, at this point, when you look at it objectively, if you try to look at it objectively, is that we have lost between 600,000 and 700,000 public sector jobs.

So we are adding private sector jobs, even though we only added 116,000 last year, and we've got to do a little bit better than that so we can catch up for people that are coming into the market, and defend and go after those people who want to drop out and become phantoms and then they don't exist at all on the numbers. That doesn't help us either.

But we've got to stop this trend down to the bottom. We're losing teachers, police officers, and firefighters at an unprecedented rate. And if you think that's going to solve our problems, nationally or locally, I don't think that that's the route to go.

I urge a ``yes'' vote on the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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