May 15 2008

Shelby Amendment to Add $50 Million to Track Unregistered Sex Offenders

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, today made the following statement in support of his amendment to the fiscal year 2008 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill.  The amendment would provide $50 million to fund the Adam Walsh Act, which is legislation aimed at tracking unregistered sex offenders. 

Senator Shelby’s statement, as prepared:

Mr. Chairman, at this time I would like to offer an amendment on behalf of myself, Senator Mikulski and Senator Hutchison for consideration by the Full Committee. 

There are approximately 600,000 sexual predators in the United States.  More than 100,000 of them are unregistered.  The Adam Walsh Child Protection Safety Act of 2006 was a significant step forward in providing the U.S. Marshals, the lead agency in enforcing this Act, with the tools to track down these unregistered sexual predators. 

The Congressional Budget Office conservatively estimates it would cost $220 million over a five year period for the Marshals Service to hire 350 new Deputy Marshals, as required by law, to locate and hunt down these unregistered sex offenders. 

How quickly we have forgotten the Adam Walsh Act signing ceremony and press conferences from two years ago.  My friend John Walsh said, “Legislation without the resources to back it up is nothing more than a photo-op.” 

No funding has been requested by the Administration for this mission. Not a single penny, Mr. Chairman. What kind of message does this budget send?  Is this giving these monsters a free pass? 

I want to thank Linda Walker, Mark Lunsford and Ed Smart, who were here last week in support of adding funding to enforce the Adam Walsh Act.  They recounted the horror stories of how

their children suffered at the hands of child predators.  How many more children must become victims before this is deemed an emergency?

My amendment would provide $50 million toward the Marshal’s portion of the Adam Walsh Act. 

I had requested that this funding be originally included in this Emergency Supplemental.  I do not know why it was removed, and I do not understand how these other so-called domestic emergencies can take priority over this.

I am very well aware that this bill is to fund the War on Terror, but I want to state for the record that child predators living in our neighborhoods, working in our schools and lurking on playgrounds across this country are every bit as dangerous to the American way of life as any terrorist.  I would also like to point out that many of the troops we send overseas are leaving behind children, without a father or mother to protect them.   

Neglecting to fund the Adam Walsh Act is an emergency.  If you don’t think so, I ask each of you here today, how many more young victims will it take before it is? 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  At the appropriate time, I will request a roll call vote on my amendment.