WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voted today in favor of a bill that adequately funds law enforcement, NASA and fisheries management while saving taxpayers more than $3 billion. The bill includes important provisions for Louisiana’s recreational fishing industries, the enforcement of immigration laws and southeast Louisiana’s role in space exploration.
The Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act is $3.2 billion less than current spending levels.
“Nothing is more important to me than setting priorities and ending the government spending sprees,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This bill focuses on what is important, including strengthening our border security, investing in our fisheries and preserving Louisiana jobs vital to helping us delve into the pockets of deep space.”
- $5 million for a multi-state partnership with the National Marine Fisheries Service to examine red snapper fisheries management in the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana plays an important role in this partnership.
- Requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve red snapper stock assessments and increase recreational catch limits for recreational anglers. While all sectors have faced challenges in the Gulf, red snapper fisheries and recreational anglers have been especially impacted.
- Healthy funding for NASA that prioritizes important programs that support jobs in Louisiana. NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans will continue to work on the core stage of the rocket for the Space Launch Systems, as well as Orion, the crew capsule for the next generation of space flight. Michoud is integral to the broader mission of eventually sending astronauts to Mars.
- Puts an additional 65 immigration judges on the bench in order to cut through the backlog in pending cases due to heightened border enforcement efforts.
- Increases funding, by $5 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. Local law enforcement officers are essential to ensuring the safety of the public and play a critical role in preventing and responding to terrorist threats.
- Includes a provision that requires all current and potential recipients of grant funding through the Department of Justice to be compliant with all federal laws, which include adhering to our nation’s immigration laws.
- Includes a provision to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the first opportunity to take into custody and remove criminal illegal aliens. This will ensure that these dangerous individuals are not improperly released into our communities.
- $48.34 million to investigate and prosecute the sexual exploitation of children across the U.S.
- An additional $2 million to investigate trade law violations that are hurting American businesses.