Rogers Remarks at Rules Committee Hearing on H.R. 5893, The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act

Nov 14, 2023

Good afternoon. As the Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, I am here to explain the CJS bill and ask that you provide an appropriate rule for its consideration. 

As you know, the CJS Subcommittee has jurisdiction over a diverse group of agencies responsible for enforcing trade laws; promoting U.S. economic interests; bolstering innovation and manufacturing; forecasting the weather; managing fisheries; combating drug trafficking, violent crime, financial fraud, terrorism, espionage, and cybercrime; exploring space; and advancing science.  

The fiscal situation facing the country requires some very significant and difficult spending reductions.

The need for reductions was reflected in the Budget Resolution that passed the House, and in the 302b allocation that we were given.

Accordingly, the CJS Subcommittee produced a strong bill that right-sizes agencies and programs within our jurisdiction. We did this by scaling back many unsustainable spending levels to Fiscal Year 2022 levels – or lower.

Despite the limited allocation, we prioritized the fight against fentanyl and efforts to counter China by supporting innovation and manufacturing initiatives, space exploration, and scientific research.

I am pleased to describe some of the highlights of the bill for, you, Mr. Chairman, and your Committee, today.

The bill includes net new spending of $58.7 billion for programs under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee, which is $23.8 billion below the Fiscal Year 2023 enacted level. That includes a non-defense discretionary total of $52.4 billion, which is $23.5 billion below the Fiscal Year 2023 level and $32 billion below the President’s Budget Request; and a defense total of $6.3 billion, which is $238 million below the Fiscal Year 2023 level and $678 million below the President’s Budget Request.

The bill prioritizes the Drug Enforcement Administration, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, while freezing, reducing, or eliminating funding for non-essential programs and offices.

The United States must maintain a competitive advantage over China. This bill takes important steps to counter China by fully funding the administration’s request for Deep Space Exploration, supporting the recently authorized Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships at the National Science Foundation, and increasing resources to counter China’s efforts to steal U.S. technology and research.

Nevertheless, many agencies with important missions are subject to reductions in the bill, because Congress must act immediately to reverse the out-of-control growth of the federal government.

For these agencies, particularly at the Department of Commerce, the Committee’s support continues—but at fiscally responsible levels.

The bill also utilizes the power of the purse to address the weaponization of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and bring an end to the overreach of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Americans’ faith in the Department of Justice seems to be at an all-time low. Many believe the FBI and ATF employ unnecessarily aggressive tactics and don’t hold themselves to the same standards they hold the subjects of their investigations.

Americans need the Justice Department to eliminate bias from within its ranks and stay above the political fray.

In addition to addressing fiscal challenges and bolstering strategic national priorities, the bill reaffirms our steadfast commitment to supporting and strengthening law enforcement agencies at all levels.

The bill includes increased funding for Byrne JAG formula grants and COPS Hiring grants. These additional funds help empower our local police departments and ensure they have the tools and resources to address the unique challenges they face in safeguarding our neighborhoods.

Understanding the gravity of the fentanyl crisis and its profound impact on public health and safety, the bill allocates increased funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration and Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Forces.

The bill also aims to shield our law enforcement community from unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles. The bill expressly prohibits funding for executive orders and regulations that impose undue burdens on our dedicated officers.  

In these challenging times, it is crucial that our law enforcement agencies receive the support they need to fulfill their critical duties effectively. The bill’s commitment to increasing formula grants, reinforcing DEA efforts, and safeguarding against burdensome regulations underscores our dedication to fostering a secure and thriving nation.

Finally, this bill represents an historic collaboration between our CJS Appropriations Subcommittee and our authorizing committee partners. In particular, I would like to thank the Judiciary and Natural Resources Committees for their sustained cooperation throughout this process.

Addressing these critical issues required a concerted effort, and I am pleased with the bill we have produced. Thank you and I am happy to address any questions you may have.