Lowey statement at hearing on FBI 2017 budget request
I’d like to thank the Chairman and Ranking Member for holding this hearing. To our distinguished FBI Director Comey, who has served this country through multiple Presidents and parties, I welcome you and thank you for your service.
The Internet and social media have revolutionized our economy and our way of life. They have also become the weapons of choice for terrorists to spread propaganda and recruit and radicalize followers. As we tragically witnessed in Paris and San Bernardino, we are facing a new type of terror attack, including the growing threat of homegrown extremists and lone wolf terrorists, and Congress must provide the FBI with the resources to keep up with these evolving threats.
I look forward to hearing how increased funding to enhance the technical capabilities of the FBI’s investigative personnel, increase the number of cyber investigations, and improve cyber collection and analysis would help meet this need.
I wholeheartedly support the Administration’s requested increase for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS (“Nicks”). Black Friday 2015 broke records for gun sales, with 185,345 background checks processed in a 24-hour period – slightly more than two background checks every second. It’s clear that the FBI will need additional investments to keep up with record breaking sales.
Last month, the President rolled out his executive actions to prevent mass shootings and loss of innocent American lives.
Many NRA-backed Republicans in Congress seized that opportunity to make clear they will not support any measures to implement the President’s plan, including increased NICS funding to keep up with an increase in background checks. I fear this misguided approach is indicative of what is to come during the Appropriations process.
Despite the threats facing our nation, the men and women of the FBI put their lives on the line every day so that we may live safely and securely. They deserve to be commended, as do you, Director Comey. I look forward to hearing your testimony.