Chairman Cartwright Statement at Subcommittee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies​ Funding Bill

2022-06-22 19:36

Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2022 bill:

I call this meeting of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee to order. Welcome to the markup of the fiscal year 2023 CJS appropriations bill.

In a moment, I will talk about the bill itself, but first I’d like to thank my colleague, Mr. Aderholt, for his hard work and collaboration on this bill.

Although we don’t agree on everything, I am heartened by the number of matters where we were able to work closely together, and I appreciate his cooperation and partnership in helping to produce this important legislation. His input is reflected throughout it.

I also want to thank the Chair of the Full Committee, Ms. DeLauro, for all of her leadership and hard work in helping the Committee to once again abide by a very ambitious schedule of committee markups, as we work to move all 12 appropriations bills.

Thank you as well to Ranking Member Granger for the work that she has contributed to all of this.

The Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill we have put forward for fiscal year 2023 will help build a safer, more prosperous, and more competitive America.

It includes a discretionary spending total of $85.7 billion. This is an increase of $7.6 billion, or 9.7% above the fiscal year 2022 level, in order to fund the wide array of critical programs and activities that fall under the subcommittee’s jurisdiction.

A top priority in this bill is public safety and efforts to fight crime at the local level.  The bill emphasizes assistance to local law enforcement, with strong funding increases for COPS Hiring and for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, as well as community projects that aim to support public safety in over 200 communities across the country.

With gun violence on all of our minds, the bill provides increases for ATF enforcement, and funding for much-needed improvements to the background check system for gun purchases, as well as funding for community violence intervention and prevention efforts, and grants to help implement extreme risk protection orders.

The bill also provides a funding increase for grants under the STOP School Violence Act to improve school safety.

Also boosted by this bill is funding for programs under the Violence Against Women Act, as well as resources to reduce the appalling backlog of unprocessed rape kits. An increase is provided for Victims of Child Abuse Act grants as well.

And, of course, we provide solid funding for Federal law enforcement, including funding for efforts to combat violent crime and cyber criminals, as well as prosecutorial resources to bring to justice those involved in the January 6 crimes at the Capitol. The bill also includes additional funding to reinforce our institutions of democracy and protect the right to vote, as well as to investigate and prosecute domestic terrorism.

We address the very troubling problem of hate crimes in our society by providing $117.5 million for grants to help prevent and prosecute them. That amount is more than five times the amount provided in fiscal year 2022 and includes funding under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and Jabara Heyer NO HATE Act, as well as funding for community-based efforts and a new hate crimes prevention initiative in the Juvenile Justice account.

The bill continues funding for the First Step Act and provides increased funding for Federal prison staffing to enhance officer and inmate safety.

We also provide substantial resources in this bill to address the opioid epidemic still plaguing our society. Increases are included for grants under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and for drug courts and veterans’ treatment courts.

And, in the interest of fundamental fairness, this legislation provides a record high funding level of $675 million for the Legal Services Corporation – in order to expand fundamental legal services for low-income persons.

The legislation further funds numerous initiatives that will advance civil rights and racial justice throughout our country, including funding for improved training for law enforcement officers, as well as funding increases for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Civil Rights Commission.

Just as critical is our work to preserve and create jobs in distressed areas, and this bill provides strong funding increases for the Economic Development Administration, the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program.

By providing healthy increases for the International Trade Administration and International Trade Commission, the bill helps create jobs by expanding U.S. exports and fighting the unfair trading practices of other countries.

This CJS bill provides full funding for the ongoing work of the National Weather Service to predict extreme heat and other forms of severe weather.

I’m particularly proud that this bill makes major investments in our ability to better understand and mitigate the real and tangible impacts of climate change – by providing strong funding increases for the climate work being conducted by NOAA, the National Science Foundation, and NASA’s Earth Science Division.  

The bill strengthens American technological and scientific competitiveness by providing important funding increases for NSF and National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

Further, this subcommittee’s commitment to American leadership in space science, space exploration, and aeronautics research is very apparent, as the bill before us today provides $25.4 billion for NASA, an increase of more than $1.4 billion above fiscal year 2022.

Finally, I note that funding increases are provided for STEM Engagement efforts across the bill’s science agencies, many of which are aimed at increasing minority representation in STEM research and STEM careers.

In closing, I want to thank all the Members of this subcommittee, on both sides of the aisle, for their very hard work all year long.  We can be enormously proud of this bill.  This legislation will do a substantial amount of good for the American people, and I urge all Members to support it.

117th Congress