Chairwoman Mikulski Announces Funding for Critical Domestic Priorities in Emergency Supplemental

Press Release From: Sen. Mikulski
Posted: Friday, May 9, 2008


Fulfills commitment to Justice Department, NASA and NSF; provides fix for Census 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced the CJS section of the emergency supplemental package includes significant investments in America. In addition to restoring $490 million for Byrne formula grants, administered through the Department of Justice and announced yesterday, the bill provides nearly $1.8 billion in CJS initiatives, including $313 million for national security requirements, $1.3 billion for domestic priorities and $225 million for recovery from Hurricane Katrina and other disasters. An Appropriations Committee vote on the Senate bill is scheduled for Thursday, May 15, 2008.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): $247.6 million

Chairwoman Mikulski has continually acknowledged the new responsibilities placed on the FBI since 9/11, and has shared her concern that the agency is being pulled in too many directions, with too few resources. The emergency supplemental includes an additional $165 million for the FBI's foreign and domestic counterterrorism initiatives for fiscal year 2008 and an additional $82.6 million for the first half of fiscal year 2009.

"The FBI is our domestic security agency with many responsibilities competing for scarce resources. The FBI has a growing international role and new responsibilities at home to protect us from terrorists while keeping us safe from violent crime," said Chairwoman Mikulski. "Since 9/11, the FBI has shifted 2,000 agents from violent crime into counterterrorism and forced state and local law enforcement to take up the slack. We need to give the FBI the resources they need so they can fulfill their new duties while protecting our communities at home."

Census 2010: $210 million

Chairwoman Mikulski has also included $210 million for the 2010 Census. This funding is necessary due to the Census Bureau's mismanagement of a technology contract. Without these funds, the 2010 Census will run out of funding at the end of June 2008. The Administration has proposed to provide funding through unacceptable transfers and reprogramming from other effective programs.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): $200 million

In two different efforts, Chairwoman Mikulski has attempted to secure $1 billion for NASA for costs related to the return to flight of the space shuttle following the loss of the space shuttle Columbia. In 1987, Congress allocated $2.7 billion in the aftermath of the Challenger tragedy to pay for a replacement shuttle. In the aftermath of the Columbia tragedy, however, NASA was not given any additional funding to repair the remaining shuttles. To date, NASA has already spent $2.7 billion to make safety modifications to the remaining shuttle fleet. The emergency supplemental includes $200 million for NASA to help pay back the costs and restore cuts to science, aeronautics and exploration programs that were cut in order to pay for the return to flight.

"NASA was hit with a terrible tragedy with the loss of Columbia. The agency was never fully reimbursed and was forced to make dramatic cuts to other programs," said Chairwoman Mikulski. "I am committed to restoring this agency's budget to ensure the continued safety of our astronauts, and to supporting the critical programs that are the hallmarks of their success."

National Science Foundation (NSF): $200 million

As an original sponsor of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act of 2007, Chairwoman Mikulski understands the importance of investments in basic research and science education. She has provided $150 million for NSF to support approximately 500 additional research grants in the basic sciences. Investments in basic research are critically important to the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. economy by creating new technologies, new industries and higher paying jobs. An additional $50 million is also included to increase NSF scholarship funding. Increased funding would support approximately 1,650 scholarships and fellowships at the undergraduate and graduate level, in order to educate and energize our future scientists and engineers.

"Right now, our nation is in an amazing race - a race for discovery and new knowledge. We're in a race to remain competitive and to foster an innovation society, to create new ideas that lead to new breakthroughs, new products and new jobs. Our country must remain an innovation economy, because a country that doesn't innovate, stagnates," said Chairwoman Mikulski. "I want America to win the Nobel prizes and the markets. The America COMPETES Act helped set the framework, and this funding puts money in the federal checkbook to make it a reality."

Bureau of Prisons (BOP): $178 million

After hearing from state and local officials about the severe consequences for prison employees and administrators facing an emergency funding shortfall, Chairwoman Mikulski provided an additional $178 million for the BOP. A rising prisoner population and high inflation rates for medical costs and utilities has created a dangerous situation for BOP. Without additional funds, BOP would be forced to reduce the number of prison guards at federal prisons, even as the inmate population continues to rise.

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