Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Garrett's Floor Speech Against COPS

As promised, here's Garrett's floor speech from yesterday. My observations are below.
I am deeply disappointed that the Democratic leadership has chosen to bring up H.R. 1700, the COPS Improvement Act of 2007, under suspension. While the Committee on Judiciary reported the bill out without objection, I am concerned that the hundreds of Members not on the committee will not have any opportunity to offer any improvements to the bill.

Had I been allowed the opportunity, I would have introduced an amendment to more fairly allot grants by State. According to last year's funding statistics, small States received a disproportionate amount of funds. In fact, in some cases small States have received more funds than States more than five times their population. For instance, Alabama gets more assistance than California.

My home State, New Jersey, a densely populated State nestled between the major metropolitan centers of New York City and Philadelphia and also home to a heavily trafficked drug corridor and its own inner-cities, receives less than 2 percent of all grants.

As if this imbalance weren't bad enough, the Office Management and Budget's Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) graded COPS as ``not performing: results not demonstrated.'' The bill authorizes $1.15 billion for this program next fiscal year and another $4.6 billion over the next 4 years. With so much taxpayer money at stake, and so few positive results demonstrated, why is the House missing this opportunity to fully consider how we might improve a program that is failing despite its good intentions?

The people of New Jersey watch a disproportionate share of their Federal taxes go to Washington to carry out this unproven program in other States. And for these reasons, I regret that I simply could not support this bill on the floor today.

This may be the best speech Garrett has ever given articulating his reasons for voting against a Bill. I have three thoughts on it:

1. With Garrett's recent history of misrepresenting the truth and making up sources on the House Floor, I'll have to fact check it, which I won't be able to do for a day or two. I'm not saying he's not telling it like it is, I'm just saying we can't take his arguments at face value.

2. If reforming the system was needed, and considering what Congress did to meth prevention funding it probably needs reform, why didn't Garrett push for these changes before he fell from 144 to 411 in influence over the last two years? When 92% of Congress liked this Bill, what hope does he now have of being heard? What other initiatives wasn't he pro-actively trying to fix on which he now must take a hopelessly defensive stance?

3. If this Bill really is such a raw deal for NJ, then why did the rest of the Delegation vote for it?

1 comment:

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