By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (R) from Alabama while concerned about the overall costs of a Senate Appropriations Committee bill is pleased with the bipartisan effort shown by both sides to produce the subcommittee markup of a Commerce Justice Science and Related Agencies funding bill.
This Congress has been one of the most partisan and divided Congresses in memory; but veteran Alabama Senator Richard Shelby did reach across the aisle on Tuesday to praise his Democratic colleagues on the bipartisan way that the Commerce Justice Science and Related Agencies bill was handled by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The legendary Alabama Senator who served in both Houses during the last seven Presidents told his Democratic colleague, Sen. Barbara Mikluski (D) from Maryland, “Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I would like to thank you for your leadership on this bill. We have worked together on many issues throughout our years and I believe that this mark reflects our strong bi-partisan relationship.”
Sen. Shelby said that he is pleased with how the money is allocated in a bipartisan and balanced way but that he will vote against the markup solely because of the total cost. Sen. Shelby said, “While I believe that the subcommittee mark strikes a balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, terrorism prevention, research, scientific advancement and U.S. competitiveness, I have concerns about the overall allocation. For that reason, and that reason alone, I will vote against the CJS bill at full committee.”
Sen. Shelby went on to emphasize a few points including: “The bill includes, as you mentioned, robust funding for the Department of Justice and law enforcement grant programs that are essential to state and local law enforcement efforts. Additionally, the bill continues to prioritize the protection of our children and communities through robust funding for the Adam Walsh Act, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The mark includes essential funding to track down, arrest and prosecute predators who prey on our nation’s children. With respect to the Department of Commerce, the bill provides important resources to support NOAA’s next generation of weather satellites, and ensures the National Weather Service can continue to provide timely warnings for dangerous weather outbreaks.”
Sen. Shelby said that the bill supports long-standing economic development programs as well as manufacturing and innovation through partnerships and support for the private sector. Shelby said that he was pleased that the bill includes the continued need for baseline data following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, supports improved management practices for red snapper, and includes $18 billion for NASA.
On NASA Sen. Shelby said, “These funds will give NASA the ability to maintain key schedules for ongoing missions and activities, including development of a heavy lift launch vehicle, while funding ongoing activities of the International Space Station and other important research activities. I also want to commend the Chair for working with me to include language that provides greater accountability and budgetary transparency to the commercial crew program to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best value for their dollar.”
In closing Senator Shelby said, “Again, Madam Chair, I want to thank you for working with me in drafting this bill.“I believe that you have produced a bill that reflects the Senate’s priorities and the needs of our nation.”
The Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee is Senator Barbara Mikulski (D) from Maryland.
Sen. Shelby is the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.