Ranking Member Cartwright Statement to Rules Committee on the 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

2023-11-14 13:10

Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA-08), Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks to the House Rules Committee in opposition to the fiscal year 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies funding bill:

– As Prepared for Delivery –

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member McGovern, and Members of the Rules Committee. I’m pleased to testify about the vital programs and efforts funded in the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, and as always, it’s good to join my friend, Chairman Hal Rogers.

I would first like to comment on this very unconventional process. The Republican majority has reneged on the spending agreement it entered into in the Fiscal Responsibility Act from earlier this year. As a result, we have had ten woefully inadequate appropriations bills that have gone through the regular Committee process without bipartisan support. Now, Republican leadership has decided to completely skip Full Committee consideration of the last two appropriations bills—Commerce-Justice-Science and Labor-HHS—while adding further egregious partisan provisions without any consultation with the minority, and wants to put these bills up for a vote. We are already more than a month into fiscal year 2024 and days away from a government shutdown.  Today is November 14th, and quite frankly, this whole process is at least four months late.  

Given that we’re now 45 days into the fiscal year, we really ought to be well on our way toward serving the needs of the American people through compromise—by negotiating, writing, and passing bipartisan appropriations legislation to send to the President for his signature.

I will keep my remaining remarks brief and go into greater detail on the House Floor, but the biggest point I want to emphasize about the CJS bill is the cut to Federal law enforcement, because it is very serious. The FBI Director sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee last week in which he reiterated that the FBI’s funding level in this bill would, and I quote, “result in a damaging and dangerous reduction in the services the FBI can provide to the public…” He added that the cut will result in the loss of 3,000 personnel across the country. These are FBI agents and analysts who help keep the American people safe.  On top of that, I would point out that this bill makes huge cuts to Federal prosecutors and to the ATF, and would reduce the number of U.S. marshals catching fugitives and fighting violent crime.

I want to emphasize that our state and local law enforcement officers work very closely with Federal law enforcement. They participate in Federal task forces and receive training from Federal agencies. When Federal law enforcement is cut, our state and local law enforcement officers suffer, and their efforts and effectiveness are crippled. The FBI Director emphasized that point as well, as has Jim Pasco, the executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police.

There are plenty of other harmful funding cuts in this bill, too numerous to fully address here. Grants for economic development and job creation are slashed by more than 50 percent. There are substantial cuts to weather forecasting and to programs that grow our STEM workforce, and the bill completely eliminates the Community Relations Service and grants for hate crime prevention and prosecution.

On top of that, there are an alarming number of very bad policy riders covering pages and pages of this bill, impacting everything from women’s health to gun violence, including some very anti-environment provisions. Such policy riders are completely inappropriate and must be removed from this bill.

Before I end my statement, I would also like to voice my strong support for two particular amendments that are before you—the Steil/Quigley amendment to add funding for presidential nominating convention security, and the Kilmer/LaMalfa amendment to add funding for the EDA Recompetes program.

Finally, I want to reiterate that we need to stop wasting time and work together to get a bipartisan bill to the President.  

Thank you very much.

118th Congress