Granger Remarks on Commerce, Justice, and Science FY21 Full Committee Markup
I want to thank Chairman Serrano and Ranking Member Aderholt for their work on the fiscal year 2021 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, and for their leadership on this Committee.
From efforts to combat criminal threats and protect children, to programs that strengthen U.S. competitiveness, this bill supports many important priorities of Members on both sides of the aisle.
It helps our nation’s innovators and manufacturers and invests in cutting-edge research and technology.
I commend Chairman Serrano and Chairwoman Lowey for maintaining provisions that protect life.
However, there are several items that concern me. For example, long-standing language carried for many years to protect Second Amendment rights is stripped from the bill.
Also, the bill makes new investments in science, but only selectively. For example, there is not a penny more for NASA.
Specifically, the bill fails to provide adequate funding for an essential component of NASA’s Artemis Program: the human landing systems on which the first woman will travel to the surface of the moon.
The inadequate amount included for landers undermines prior year investments in deep space exploration.
Flat funding for NASA reveals a deliberate effort to undercut our path toward renewed American space dominance. This is shortsighted, to say the least.
Sending American astronauts to the south pole of the moon will showcase the global leadership and technological advances of the United States.
It will also enhance our national security by allowing us to establish a strategic presence on the moon.
Our nation is facing serious threats in space, specifically from China. My advocacy for the Artemis Program was solidified after learning about China’s capabilities and their future plans.
Unfortunately, the U.S. has largely fallen behind in space research and development and will soon be out paced by the Chinese if we don’t take action immediately.
Being the world leader in space will be expensive, but it won’t be nearly as costly as letting China dominate in space.
One way to protect both our national security and our economy is to dominate space and beat the Chinese and other near peer adversaries.
For far too long, we have allowed China to challenge us, with negative implications both for our economy and our national security.
The bill also underfunds every one of the Justice Department’s federal law enforcement agencies. Not one has its budget request fulfilled in this bill.
In addition, grant funds for state and local law enforcement partners are conditioned on policies far outside their control.
The new conditions will indefinitely withhold critical active shooter response training and grants for school violence prevention measures.
In addition, funding that can be used for body cameras, bulletproof vests, investigations, and overtime will be halted.
Instead, funding is directed to a misconduct registry that could publicly report baseless accusations. This will be welcome news to any criminal looking to sideline a good officer.
Unfortunately, this appears to be what “defunding the police” looks like.
This bill demonstrates why a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on policing reform is needed for us to make real progress.
Yet, an attempt to make policing reform as bipartisan as possible was already rejected in the House last month.
Before I came to Congress, I was mayor of Fort Worth, Texas. At that time, that city had one of the highest crime rates in the nation.
We took it on and had, in two years, the largest crime decrease in the nation.
We did that by respecting and encouraging our police, by giving them the equipment they needed. Also encouraging them to work with citizens and encouraging businesses to provide jobs so people could provide for their families.
The encouragement that was given made all the difference in the world. I hope we will keep this in mind as we proceed on this bill.
Thank you, Madam Chair, I yield back.