Fattah Floor Statement on CJS Appropriations Act
I rise to offer to the House our support for the base bill. The chairman of this committee, whom I have had the honor to work with for a number of years, has laid out in some detail some of the appropriations in this bill. And as our Constitution requires, no dollar out of our Treasury shall be appropriated, except by act of Congress. So we are here in our constitutional roles.
I want to thank Chairman Wolf for all of the courtesies extended to the minority. Obviously, if we were drafting a bill, we might have a different set of numbers in different areas, whether for legal services or COPS. But in the main, this is a bill that the chairman has extended himself in every effort that could be done to accommodate the minority. I want to thank him for his work with me over these many years, inasmuch as this will be the last bill that he will carry on the floor.
This bill, I think, represents a set of priorities important to our Nation that he has laid a predicate for that will be carried on even by others who may assume the role that he sits in today.
As for the Democrats, I want to say a number of things. One is that we are very pleased that in this bill the science accounts have been a focus of high priority. For NASA, over $17 billion. For the National Science Foundation, $7.4 billion. As has been indicated, it is the highest amount to date. The Office of Science and Technology is fully funded at the President's request.
I think some of us know now that I consider the science activities in this bill to be very, very important. In particular, superior among equals in terms of science-related activities is neuroscience. Here, again, you will see an extraordinarily significant increase. It is one of the highest increases in any of the science accounts.
The World Health Organization says well over a billion people are suffering from brain-related diseases and disorders. The National Institutes of Health says that 50 million Americans suffer from dementia and epilepsy and all manner of neurological-based diseases and disorders.
In this bill, we continue to fund a neuroscience initiative that was crafted--and the chairman supported me in this effort--in our very first bill. We continue to lay important foundations for the effort to actually come to grips with some of these challenges. So I am very pleased about that.
On the manufacturing initiatives, the manufacturing extension partnership is very important. Today, we lead the world in manufacturing. Our lead that was absolute is now relative. We see other countries who are moving aggressively in this field.
The chairman led an initiative in terms of re-shoring these jobs. I have focused on trying to bring in more technology into our manufacturing plants. But the two of us share a concern that America has to be a country where we make things and where the manufacturing sector is secure in terms of being an important part of our economy's future.
I want to also mention the focus here on youth mentoring. It is above the President's request. This includes groups such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which is a congressionally chartered organization serving some 4 million young people; Big Brothers Big Sisters; and Girls, Inc.
We could go through the list. These are national evidence-based organizations that are really making a difference in the lives of young people. And the committee is aware of the great work that these organizations are doing. So we have seen fit--and appropriately so--with the chairman's support, to raise the appropriations in this regard even above the President's request.
So there will be a number of amendments that we will debate. Democrats may have a different opinion on some of these items from our colleagues on the other team. There may even be circumstances where there will be intramural differences on some of these issues.
At its base, I think the CJS bill we present today reflects the Nation's priorities. Obviously, if we had a larger allocation, we would invest even more in a variety of these priorities.
I think some of the points that the chairman has pointed to in terms of human trafficking and aeronautics investments, on the manufacturing side, there are a number of areas where you can see clearly that the chairman has taken extraordinary care to make sure that a number of items get the appropriate revenues that are needed so that we can truly make a difference.
So we are anxious to have the debate and to get to the amendments and have the House work its will.
I want to thank the majority as we come here today. We have an open rule so the House will have an opportunity to work its will.