Thank you, Madam Chair, for yielding.
Chairman Cartwright and Ranking Member Aderholt, thank you for your work on this Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill.
I know both of you have worked together to address priorities of Members on both sides of the aisle.
Unfortunately, this year’s bill is overshadowed by partisan politics and unbalanced spending priorities.
The difference of opinion on both issues could slow down our appropriations process this year, leaving us vulnerable at a time when we know our nation is facing increasing threats.
Instead of prioritizing these security challenges, this bill focuses on funding new, overlapping, and potentially duplicative programs that may not even be useful for our local communities.
State and local grant programs are increased by an astounding $1.6 billion, with much of this funding conditioned on policies far outside the control of our local law enforcement officers.
This is unacceptable, and it will keep our local officials from pursuing their own police reform agendas.
Even worse, funds that might otherwise be available for body cameras, bulletproof vests, investigations, or overtime will be withheld indefinitely.
There are several other items that concern me as well. The bill does not include a long-standing pro-life provision regarding the use of Justice Department funds.
In addition, language carried for many years to protect Second Amendment rights is stripped from the bill.
Still, I am encouraged that the bill includes strong funding for NASA. It is essential that the United States maintains our path toward renewed space dominance.
This committee must develop appropriations bills with bipartisan support that can be signed into law.
The Commerce-Justice-Science bill supports agencies that combat criminal threats, ensure compliance with our trade laws, and enable us to effectively counter China. We cannot allow that to be delayed.
Time, I believe, is of the essence. I urge my colleagues to consider the amendments our side will offer today.
In closing, I would like to thank all of the subcommittee members and all the staff for their hard work on this bill, specifically our minority clerk, Stephanie Gadbois, and our majority, clerk Bob Bonner.
Thank you, Madam Chair, I yield back.
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