Granger Remarks on Commerce, Justice, and Science FY21 Subcommittee Markup

Jul 8, 2020

Chairman Serrano, thank you for presenting the fiscal year 2021 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill today.

Before we begin, I want to recognize you, Mr. Chairman, since sadly this is the last subcommittee markup you will chair. 

Mr. Serrano has served in the Congress for 30 years. During his time on the Appropriations Committee, he has been the Chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee and this subcommittee.

His willingness to listen to the concerns of Members of both parties from all parts of the country, as well as his great personality, will be missed.

I also want to thank the Ranking Member, Mr. Aderholt, for his leadership on our Committee and on this bill. He works hard and represents his district and the state well.

I also want to thank him for his leadership on space issues that are so important to our future.

From initiatives that strengthen U.S. competitiveness, to efforts to combat criminal threats and protect children, 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.

The bill makes new investments in science, but only selectively. There is a significant increase for the National Science Foundation, but 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. Being the world leader in space will be expensive, but it won’t be nearly as costly as letting China dominate in space.

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.

Funds that might otherwise be available for body cameras, bulletproof vests, investigations, or overtime will be withheld indefinitely.

Funding is directed to a misconduct registry that will 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 week.

I am committed to working with my colleagues to address these disagreements as the appropriations process moves forward. 

In closing, I would like to recognize the Members of the subcommittee and all of the staff for their work. On my staff, I would like to thank Stephanie Gadbois, Darren Benjamin, and Kristin Clarkson.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.