Aderholt Remarks at FY23 Commerce, Justice, and Science Full Committee Markup

Jun 28, 2022

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Good afternoon, everyone. Chairwoman DeLauro, Ranking Member Granger, and of course Chairman Cartwright.. I do want to thank the Majority for bringing forth today the Fiscal Year 2023 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Chairman Cartwright and his staff have put a great deal of effort into this bill. I am very proud to have worked with him. He has been very fair through this process, and he has been a great partner as we have hammered out this bill. I appreciate all of the hard work everyone has done to make this bill successful and make sure the priorities of Members on both sides of the aisle are in this bill and included.

There are many things in this bill we can agree on. Again, I want to thank Chairman Cartwright for working with me to ensure this bill reflects deep concerns about the threats posed by our adversaries. As a nation, we must act to aggressively counter insidious ambitions by the governments of China and Russia. Certainly, with regard to space, we must not assume they’re pursuing peaceful goals.

This bill funds many NASA programs at a level that will bolster our national security.  With the Artemis One mission set to take place this year, I’m pleased that this bill includes $2.6 billion for the SLS, which ensures NASA can allocate 100% of what is needed for Block 1B development in fiscal year 2023.

I’m also pleased that the bill includes $110 million for nuclear thermal propulsion. We need to aggressively fund the development of this technology to out-compete China and land Americans on Mars. These investments, along with programs that will help advance American manufacturing and the industries of the future are essential for advancing U.S. innovation, global competitiveness, and our national security. The bill also supports programs addressing the opioid epidemic, cutting-edge forensic technologies, and the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking.

Unfortunately, there are areas in which this bill needs improvement, and hopefully, that’s what we can do today. The bill eliminates a longstanding prohibition on the Department of Justice paying for abortions, also it eliminates four Second Amendment protections that have been in the bill with bipartisan support over the years. In addition, there is language laying the groundwork for universal background checks on all ammunition sales – an extraordinary assault on the right to keep and bear arms.

I also would like to work with you Mr. Chairman to do more than what we’re already doing on theft and espionage by the government of China  The agencies funded by this subcommittee must be prepared to deter and contain malicious endeavors across all fronts by the government of China.

Furthermore, our side of the aisle remains deeply concerned about the runaway spending, and what we are seeing is spending that this Majority is doing and also this administration. The topline increase of nearly $10 billion and double-digit percentage increases across many of the agencies in this bill are unrealistic, unsustainable, and irresponsible.

Every American family is feeling the consequences of inflation. However, this bill spends tens of millions of dollars on new liberal wish-list initiatives. And the amount of duplication and overlap in state and local programs is unprecedented in this bill. Under State and Local Law Enforcement Activities alone, there is a net increase of roughly 20 programs.

There are unsupported increases of tens of millions of dollars for programs whose effectiveness has not yet been evaluated. An example of this is the Community Violence Prevention and Intervention Initiative – a program that is only 3 months old, yet it has received a $100 million increase!

For the sake of struggling families, we must soundly reject undisciplined spending. We must regain a focus on our national responsibilities and make tough choices to slow down the growth of the federal government. All that being said, Madam Chair, I look forward to working with Chairman Cartwright and yourself, as this process moves forward, to address these issues and improve the bill.

I want to especially thank the staff that has worked very diligently – Bob Bonner, Jeff Ashford, T.J. Loudermilk, Shannon McCully, Jamie Wise, and Nora Faye, as well as our Minority staff, Stephanie Gadbois, Darren Benjamin, and Kristin Clarkson – along with my personal staff, has worked tirelessly on this bill as well. We do appreciate all that you’ve done.

With that, Madam Chair, I yield back.