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Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COWAN. Mr. President, Senator Elizabeth Warren, the distinguished Senior Senator from Massachusetts and I are cosponsors of the Murkowski amendment to the Continuing Appropriations bill. This amendment would provide $150 million in disaster assistance for the fishermen and the fishing communities which received a Department of Commerce disaster declaration last year. This amendment is offset by an across-the-board cut to the Department of Commerce budget in Fiscal Year 2013.

While Senator Warren and I are cosponsors of this bipartisan amendment, we would strongly prefer that this amendment use an emergency funding designation instead of the offset included in this amendment.

In recent years, Massachusetts fishermen and fishing communities have been struggling to survive amid Federal regulations and environmental changes that have limited fishing opportunities. Last year, the Department of Commerce declared a fishery failure for the Northeast multispecies fishery for the 2013 season.

Last year, the Senate included a $150 million fund in the Senate Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill to assist fisheries disasters, like those in the Northeast using an emergency designation. Unfortunately, this provision was not included in the final Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill due to opposition from Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Senator Warren and I will continue to do all that we can to provide disaster assistance funding for Massachusetts fishermen and fishing communities.


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