Ranking Member DeLauro Statement at the Subcommittee Markup of the 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

2023-07-14 09:04

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's markup of the fiscal year 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies funding bill:

– As Prepared for Delivery –

Thank you, Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Cartwright, for your work on this subcommittee. I would also like to thank the majority and minority staff, particularly Bob Bonner, Faye Cobb, Nora Faye, and Shannon McCully for all of your hard work.

The majority’s 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science bill abandons our most vulnerable populations while conducting a shell game to hide atrocious cuts to programs that protect families and build communities. With an allocation $23.8 billion below 2023, the majority has opted to defund law enforcement, science, and rural development – all while opening the door for the wealthiest individuals and corporations to shortchange the American people on their tax bill.

It is shameful that the majority’s baseless attacks on federal law enforcement have made the leap from irresponsible rhetoric into appropriations language. Combined cuts to the FBI, ATF, and U.S. Attorneys accounts of nearly $1 billion will result in fewer agents, fewer analysts, and ultimately, fewer prosecutions of criminals. All because, apparently, the majority does not like an independent Department of Justice investigating the alleged criminal activity of certain individuals. This is naked politicization of our criminal justice system, and we cannot allow political influence over law enforcement activity to become the norm.

Within the Office on Violence Against Women, the majority has completely eliminated funding for programs focused on restorative justice, culturally specific services, underserved populations, financial assistance, campus assault and LGBT-specific services. Out of the State and Local Law Enforcement account, we see even more programs that provide critical resources for our most distressed and at-risk communities completely eliminated: Community Violence Intervention and Prevention grants; Hate crime prevention grants; community-based approaches to advancing justice; and the National Center for Restorative Justice – all completely gutted.

The bill also cuts Juvenile Justice programs, including a $65 million cut to the Title V Delinquency Prevention Incentive Grants, and $11 million cut to Missing and Exploited Children programs. I never thought I would see this committee abandon children at their greatest time of need while making it easier for the well-off to cheat on their taxes – but here we are.

This bill is an unconscionable attack on children, on victims of crime, on the men and women of the Department of Justice, and the department’s programs that ensure resources go directly to the communities that desperately need assistance.

While decimating federal law enforcement, this bill also makes unfathomable cuts to economic programs that our most underserved communities and our rural communities rely upon. Just $211 million for Economic Development Administration grant programs takes us all the way back to 2014, and 51 percent below last year’s amount. EDA is widely recognized to be a historically-critical program that has well-served the American public in economically distressed communities since the 1960s. A plundering of this magnitude will result in the elimination and severe underfunding of programs that provide ground-up support to kickstart local economies and bring back good jobs. These programs mainly invest in the revitalization of rural localities and our most distressed local communities – and the majority has shamelessly opted to leave them behind.

Finally, the majority is draining resources from the scientific institutions that provide economically critical and often life-saving information. Nearly $1 billion is cut from NOAA, while more than $400 million is cut from the NASA Science account, and nearly a quarter of a billion dollars is cut from the National Science Foundation STEM Education account. Cuts to the National Weather Service would mean less reliable forecasts and less warning time before severe weather strikes the businesses, schools, and families that rely on the data provided by the agency. Of course, the majority has cut Climate Research as well – which means we will be even more unprepared when severe weather strikes.

This bill cuts $22 billion from the IRS to protect tax cheats, defunds federal law enforcement, makes us less safe, and leaves children and rural communities behind. For these reasons, I must vote against this bill, and I urge my colleagues to do the same. Thank you, and I yield back.

118th Congress