Chairwoman Mikulski Remarks at Full Committee Markup of CJS & Homeland Bills

Release Date: 
Thursday, July 18, 2013

For Immediate Release  July 18, 2013

Contact: Rob Blumenthal (202) 224-1010 / Eve Goldsher (202) 224-3751

Remarks of Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski

July 18, 2013 Full Committee Markup

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, focused on the importance of funding the departments that keep us safe at home and that promote innovation and create jobs at today’s Full Committee markup of the fiscal year 2014 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies and Homeland Security bills. The following are Chairwoman Mikulski’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“I am pleased to hold this meeting to mark up the fiscal year 2014 bills for Commerce, Justice, Science and Homeland Security. These are two important bills that keep America safe by funding the federal efforts that protect America from terrorism and violent crime, and warn Americans about threats that range from bombings to severe weather. These two bills help Americans get out of harm’s way before disaster strikes, and afterwards, they help communities recover from those tragedies.

“In this Committee, we continue to show that despite our persistent disagreement about the topline spending level, we are able to work together in a bipartisan way to move our bills forward in order to keep America safe and to keep America moving forward. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, especially our Subcommittee Chairmen and Ranking Members, for working so hard so that we can move our process forward.

“I’m so proud to be the Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee. The name really says it all. I fight for my bill because it means creating jobs through commerce, keeping Americans safe from crime and terrorism in our Justice system, and promoting innovation that comes from science. The Commerce, Justice, Science bill keeps the American people safe, and helps our citizens prosper by making America more competitive, innovative, and resilient.

“The Commerce, Justice, Science bill funds the federal law enforcement agencies that track down terrorists, drug dealers, child predators, schemers and scammers. The bill funds the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the U.S. Marshals. It funds the federal prosecutors who put criminals behind bars and it funds the Federal Prison system in order to protect our communities.

“The Commerce, Justice, Science bill also funds grants to State and local law enforcement to keep our neighborhoods and communities safe. These grants are focused on prevention of crime, and they fund COPS hiring grants, as well as grants for equipment like bulletproof vests -- so every officer who needs one can get one. They also focus on intervention by funding juvenile justice grants that promote mentoring and afterschool programs to keep kids off drugs and out of gangs. Grants to assist prosecutors include ones targeting DNA testing backlogs. These grants allow law enforcement to build crime lab capacity, and process rape kits and evidence from crime scenes.

“The Commerce, Justice, Science bill also funds American innovation that helps to generate home-grown products that in turn create good jobs that lead to more American economic growth and prosperity. It funds research, development, and standards through the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration -- all of which develop the new ideas that lead to the new technologies that create the jobs of the future.

“Today, we will also approve the Homeland Security bill. I’m proud of the bipartisan work of Senators Landrieu and Coats in putting this bill together. Several tragedies in the last year alone highlight the critical and important dual roles played by the Department of Homeland Security.

“From the horrific Boston bombings to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, from the threats of homegrown terrorism, to cyber attacks, to the impacts of severe weather, all of these things continue to strengthen American resolve in the face of adversity and to highlight the important role of the Department of Homeland Security.

“Senator Landrieu will give a detailed summary of the excellent Homeland Security bill, but I want to highlight two important issues. The first is the importance of grants to State and local governments to help them prepare for and respond to emergencies of all kinds, from terrorism to natural disasters. And the second is cybersecurity.

“The Homeland Security bill provides $1.5 billion in much-needed funding to help State and local first responders prepare for and respond to all hazards and emergencies, from terrorism to natural disasters. I’m proud that this bill sustains this critical funding for preparedness grants to support training and exercises that are critical to success when we must respond to incidents like the Boston bombings. These grants also support port security and transit security. And the bill provides $675 million for Firefighter Assistance Grants that support our fire departments, so they can replace worn equipment and hire new fire fighters.

“The bill also provides critical funding as we face the threats of cybercrime and cyber terrorism. I recently Chaired the Committee’s first Full Committee hearing on cybersecurity. We all know that our nation is under attack, that we are in a cyber war every day as cyber terrorists seek to damage critical infrastructure. They seek to take over the power grid or to disrupt our air traffic control systems. Cyber spies are moving at breakneck speeds to steal state secrets and intellectual property. And cyber criminals are hacking our networks, stealing financial information, and disrupting business operations. 3

“My hearing highlighted the entire Federal government’s efforts to protect the American people from cyber threats, and prevent attacks on dot mil, dot gov, and dot com. These domains are part of our vital infrastructure, and keeping them protected is crucial to our government and our economy. I am pleased the Homeland Security bill includes funding needed to help protect America from cyber attacks.

“I believe we must focus on reducing the public debt in a balanced way, but if that’s all we do then we risk creating other deficits -- deficits in the areas of protecting America and in generating new American jobs. I believe the bills we will approve today, the Commerce, Justice, Science bill and the Homeland Security bill, strike the right balance, and I look forward to moving them to the full Senate.”

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