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Chairwoman Mikulski Focuses on Community Security and Competitiveness in CJS Spending Bill

Press Release From: Sen. Mikulski
Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chairwoman Mikulski Focuses on Community Security and Competitiveness in CJS Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced she has focused the 2009 CJS spending bill on community security and competitiveness. The bill provides $57.9 billion, $4.2 billion above the President's budget request, for the Departments of Commerce and Justice (DOJ), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and eight related independent agencies. Programmatic details of the bill, which passed the subcommittee this morning, will be available after the full Appropriations Committee vote Thursday afternoon.

"This time next year, we will have a new President. This year's appropriation will carry agencies through the first year of a new administration, regardless of who will become President. As Chairwoman this year, I want to make sure our agencies have the funding to carry out their missions and mandates for continuity of government," said Chairwoman Mikulski. "When I look at the agencies in our jurisdiction, I see tremendous opportunities to promote innovation that will create jobs and make our communities more secure, while ensuring accountability and stewardship of taxpayer dollars."

COMMUNITY SECURITY

The top priority for Chairwoman Mikulski's CJS bill is to protect America from terrorism and violent crime. She funds the DOJ at $25.8 billion, a $2.7 billion increase above the President's budget request. This includes restored funding for state and local law enforcement at $3.1 billion, including $580 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG). The funding also includes $242 million to protect our nation's children from predators.

The bill also funds the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) at $7.3 billion, $162 million above the President's budget request. This includes $10 million to hire at least 25 new special agents to investigate mortgage fraud, which brings the total number of agents to 175.

"The rise in violent crime and the critical ongoing fight against terrorism have placed new pressure on the law enforcement agencies working hard every day to prevent crime and keep our neighborhoods safe," said Chairwoman Mikulski. "I am committed to giving them the tools they need to clean up the streets, protect our families, and fight the crime that is destroying communities."

COMPETITIVENESS

This year's CJS bill makes critical investments in scientific research and technology to improve America's competitiveness, following the recommendations outlined in the 2005 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," and authorized in the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act, which Senator Mikulski co-sponsored. The bill provides funding for research that will create new products and processes that support job creation, including $809 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and $6.9 billion for NSF, which provides $790 million for NSF's education and training programs. The bill also includes significant federal investments for research and technology development that are critical to understanding and predicting changes in the earth's climate and oceans.

The bill provides $17.8 billion for NASA, $200 million above the President's request. It also provides $4.5 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes funding to implement many of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative's (JOCI) recommendations for greater stewardship of our oceans. Approximately $74 million was also provided to restore critical climate sensors to NOAA weather satellites.

"If America is going to be more competitive, we must focus on funding and policies to develop new technologies that lead to new products and industries that create new jobs," said Senator Mikulski. "We need federal science agencies that foster innovation, make America more competitive, and help us better understand our planet."

After the full Appropriations Committee approves the CJS spending bill tomorrow, the bill will move to the Senate floor for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled.

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