May 07 2009
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR RICHARD C. SHELBY
“Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. And thank you, Attorney General Holder, for joining us to discuss the Department of Justice and its Fiscal Year 2010 budget request. First, I want to recognize and extend my appreciation and support to the men and women of the Department of Justice who protect this country from crime and terrorism. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.”
“The Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for the Department of Justice is $24 billion. This is a $950 million, or four percent increase, over the Fiscal Year 2009 request. In keeping pace with the last Administration, the Department continues to be satisfied playing second fiddle to the Department of Homeland Security, whether its drugs, gun tracing, explosives jurisdiction, or the border war. During the last Administration, the Department of Homeland Security’s request grew seven to 10 percent each year, while the Justice Department’s request decreased or remained flat.
“While the overall numbers for the Department appear to have improved, there is a disturbing theme throughout the request that advocates hugs for criminals instead of catching and punishing them. I am specifically referring to the Second Chance Act. The DOJ 2010 budget press release sent out by your office highlights the Second Chance Act. There is no mention of Adam Walsh funding. The welfare of terrorists, pedophiles and career criminals is prioritized at the expense of child safety, crime victims and law enforcement. Once again, this Administration, like the previous one, has requested such an inadequate and pathetic level of funding for Adam Walsh enforcement that it essentially ensures the Act's failure.
“In a perfect world flush with resources I would be supportive of funding the Second Chance Act, but the very idea of taking money from victims and law enforcement officers to
educate and comfort terrorists, pedophiles, and career criminals is an abomination. Let me say this again. The Department of Justice is requesting funds to educate and mentor terrorists, pedophiles and career criminals – while requesting no funds for tracking the monsters that abducted and sexually assaulted Adam Walsh, Elizabeth Smart, Dru Sjodin, Polly Klaas, Jessica Lunsford, and others like them. How can we look into the eyes of the parents of these children and tell them DOJ and the Administration are prioritizing criminals’ well-being over funding the Adam Walsh Act?
“Mr. Attorney General, the Administration recently announced its intention to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, where 241 detainees are still being held. This will be a difficult and expensive undertaking for the Department. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the Administration plans to possibly release the detainees into the United States. The Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, went so far as to suggest that the Administration is even considering providing these terrorists with taxpayer funded subsidies to establish and supplement their new life in America. I look forward to hearing whether this Administration really intends to release these terrorist-trained detainees into our communities and give them public assistance.
“Lastly, I’d also like an explanation of the costs and burdens the Department will have to undertake to begin the closure process. We want to work with you to ensure the personnel under your direction, involved in this process, have the resources necessary to complete their mission safely.
“Thank you again for appearing before us today and I look forward to hearing your statement and working with you.”