Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Feb 15, 2011
Floor Speech

 

Mr. PASCRELL. We used to argue at one time on this floor whether or not to help communities to support the police department. We argued here on this floor as to whether this was a Federal issue, whether the Federal Government had any responsibility in terms of firefighters--I remember the debates--and police officers, and we made a decision on a bipartisan basis that it was a responsibility because we needed to protect the homeland.

   So Democrats and Republicans supported the protection in trying to help communities fight crime and put out fires. We made that on a bipartisan basis, and it is a shame that we do not even consider the COPS program as part of homeland security because, if you don't have it here, you have it nowhere. This is a security issue. It is a priority. How many officers in the past 2 months have been shot down doing their job in this country? Double last year. And we know that small communities and large communities have taken advantage of the COPS program. This is important to our communities.

   I was a mayor of the third largest city in New Jersey. I know what those police officers on the street in the communities mean to protecting folks in my town where I still live. I know the results. Since 1992, I know those results inside and out. You heard Mr. Weiner, who showed us the charts about what it has meant right across the United States of America. We're making a big mistake here. Throughout the United States of America, everybody, citizens know that when they see police officers walking the beat, they know there is a priority that the Federal Government has not forgotten.

   I ask you, you cannot do to police officers and you cannot do to firefighters what this budget, at least for the next 6 months, is being represented by the other side. We are going to take up a FIRE Act pretty soon, the SAFER Act pretty soon with our firefighters. We can't do this. We can't pat them on the back and say, Great job. We can't go to the parades and say, Look at this; this is the protection we have in America, and do this in a program that's successful.

   No one has stood and questioned the success of either of these programs. No one. I haven't heard one word tonight. If a program wasn't working, if cops weren't doing their job on the beat, then you'd stand and you would defend that particular position.

   This is not the way to do it. This is not the way to protect the homeland. This is not the way to pat police officers on the back and then send them out there without the resources and without their brothers and sisters fighting alongside of them to protect the United States of America.

   Mr. Chairman, this is a very serious problem. We argue vociferously on this floor to protect the soldier in the field in foreign lands. I'm here today to support DeFazio, Weiner, and the rest of the folks who have talked on this, to defend our police officers on the street. We owe them no less. I ask you to restore this money, the money that has been taken away in this 7-month budget. I don't think it's fair, and I don't think it's wise.

 

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