Chairman Rogers Opening Statement on FY 2013 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill for Subcommittee Markup

Apr 19, 2012

I thank the Chairman for yielding, and I congratulate him on completing the FY13 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriation Bill. Mr. Wolf, Mr. Fattah and staff on both sides have worked tirelessly to bring this important legislation before the subcommittee today.

Unquestionably the fiscal situation confronting our nation is of the utmost importance to our national and economic security.  The alarming trajectory of federal spending in the last three years is simply unsustainable if we are to grow our economy and create jobs.  And perhaps nowhere in the Congress have we made more meaningful progress in reversing these startling trends than here in the Appropriations Committee.  This bill is no exception, representing our commitment to restoring austerity, restraint and thoughtfulness to the appropriations process.

The FY13 CJS bill contains $51.1 billion in funding, a reduction of $1.6 billion (or 3%) below the FY12 enacted level and $731 million below the President’s request.  This total is $700 million below the pre-stimulus, pre-bailout level of 2008.  These cuts were certainly not easy, but given our fiscal realities and a lack of leadership in addressing our ballooning entitlement programs, they are necessary.

This legislation roots out extraneous, duplicative and unnecessary programs to save the taxpayers $300 million while prioritizing some of the most critical aspects of government.  Within the overall reductions, strategic increases are included for the federal law enforcement on the front lines who protect our people from criminals and terrorists home and abroad; programs which maintain the competitiveness of our businesses and industries; and those which promote the scientific research that will help America continue to lead the world in innovation.

I am also incredibly grateful to the Chairman for his support in this bill for efforts to bring under control our country’s fastest growing drug threat – the abuse of prescription drugs. The CDC has classified this escalating situation as an epidemic, and just this week released a report showing that overdose deaths among American teenagers has soared by 91% in the last decade. This senseless loss of life has to end, and this legislation provides the DEA and US Attorneys with the resources to investigate and prosecute the so-called “dealers in white coats” running rogue pain clinics; supports struggling addicts and our soldiers returning from war through recovery with drug and veterans courts; and encourages state-run prescription monitoring programs to move swiftly towards interstate compatibility and data-sharing.

It is a testament to the diligence of this subcommittee and the Chairman that we have been able to maintain funding for such programs and projects of vital importance to our nation and its future competitiveness while also realizing significant savings for the taxpayer.  I am pleased that we are moving through regular order on this year’s appropriations bills, upholding our commitment to the American people to reduce the size and scope of government through this process.  I urge that the subcommittee to support this bill and promptly report to the full Committee.