Congressional Record - July 14, 2003
Pages H6638, et. seq.
An Amendment by Rep. Artur Davis to increase funding for 1890s facilities and capacity building by $3,500,000 and reducing the Common Computer Environment account by a like amount. Adopted by voice vote.
Mr. DAVIS of Alabama. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment offered by Mr. Davis of Alabama:
Page 3, line 9, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced by $3,500,000)''.
Page 11, line 13, after the dollar amount, insert ``(increased by $2,000,000)''.
Page 13, line 5, after the dollar amount, insert ``(increased by $2,000,000)''.
Page 13, line 23, after the dollar amount, insert ``(increased by $1,500,000)''.
Page 14, line 14, after the dollar amount, insert ``(increased by $1,500,000)''.
Mr. DAVIS of Alabama (during the reading). Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read and printed in the RECORD.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Alabama?
There was no objection.
Mr. DAVIS of Alabama. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support and to offer an amendment that will correct a discrepancy and a disparity that has been overlooked in this bill, Mr. Chairman.
Let me begin by, first of all, thanking the very able ranking member of this subcommittee, the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur) for her cooperation and her assistance. Let me thank my good friend, the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Clyburn), as well and a number of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have worked on this issue during the last several months.
Mr. Chairman, 17 Members of this institution are honored to represent 1890 Land Grant Colleges. 1890 Land Grant Colleges are historically black colleges and universities that have played an enormously significant role in the life of the South, in particular in the last 100 years. These institutions, that include in my State Tuskegee Alabama University and Alabama A&M University, not only reach an underserved part of the population, but they have been vehicles for launching leadership all over this country.
In the President's budget that was submitted, there was a discrepancy in the way these schools are treated and the way that 1862 Land Grant Colleges are treated. While I certainly take the chairman's admonition that if all of us who wanted to add a dollar here and a dollar there were to come to the floor, we would be here all day, I think that all of us would recognize that we have some fundamental obligations to treat like institutions in the same manner.
This particular budget essentially leaves level funding for 1862 Land Grants, which happen to be predominantly white institutions. Funding is slashed by five times that amount for 1890 Land Grants. I am not here to point a finger, Mr. Chairman, or to cast aspersions. I simply identify this discrepancy as something that we should fix.
A number of people ask, what is the impact of a cut that seems relatively small, about 3 percent? That has to be measured I think in the individual life of these institutions. Seventeen of them stand to lose $200,000 to $300,000 a school. In Tuskegee, Alabama, a $200,000 cut at Tuskegee University weakens the ability of that school to do enormously important work. A $200,000 cut at Alabama A&M University weakens the ability of that school to do enormously important work.
While so many programs have had to bear the brunt of the budget ax, we ought to make sure that it is administered in a fair and evenhanded manner.
So I ask my colleagues to support this amendment and to restore $3.5 million, a fraction of a $3 trillion plus budget, to bring back these 1890s to parallel treatment with 1862s in this budget. This is an act of bipartisanship on our part.
I want to thank someone who is not here today, who is touring a base in his State, my good friend and one of the ablest colleagues that we have in this institution, the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Shays). He has worked on this issue since the budget process. I want to also thank the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Vitter), our colleague on the Committee on Appropriations.
So I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, to make a very important statement about the worth and the value of these colleges that play such a significant role.
Mr. BONILLA. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Mr. Chairman, once again the gentleman brings up some very good points in his amendment, but we have done the best we possibly could under the limitations we have this year; and the offset the gentleman is looking at, again, would hurt the implementation of a lot of programs that we have discussed earlier. So for that reason I would oppose this amendment.
Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I wanted to rise in very strong support of the gentleman from Alabama's (Mr. Davis) amendment. I think it is a very important one to support our land grant institutions, and those that are historically black colleges and Tuskegee Institute. If you think about it, if you look at the budget the President presented to the Congress, the funding for the 1890 land grant institutions was actually cut three times as deeply as funding for the 1862 land grant institutions under the President's submittal. And so the cuts fall more harshly on those institutions that have an enormous load to carry in helping to bring up the talent to perform the research at those colleges which often gets shortchanged because people are spending so much of their time teaching.
I think only an administration that really does not understand what these institutions do could cut the funding three times as deeply as the other trims that were made in the budget. It has been very interesting to watch the President tour Africa. In having worked with our colleagues over the years to try to get linkages between our historically black colleges and Tuskegee Institute with African institutions to try to draw linkages halfway across the world, I know how difficult it has been. It has been hard to get those kinds of agreements to occur, to give these institutions a chance to embrace the 21st century and create the kind of global connections and specialized knowledge that rests in these institutions.
So I think the gentleman makes a very reasonable proposal here for $1.5 million to be directed to the institutions for facilities and $2 million for capacity building for the 1890s institutions, offsetting that $3.5 million from the common computing environment.
When I look at what happened over the weekend with all the news coming out about credit cards over at the Department of Agriculture and some of the internal problems that they are having, I know one thing: when you invest in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Tuskegee Institute, you are investing in people; you are investing in the future where knowledge is so important to propel economic growth including in some of the most hollowed out parts of the country where agriculture has to be the lodestar industry. These institutions provide hope and opportunity for people who were traditionally excluded from other institutions of learning in this country.
So I think that the gentleman has correctly awakened this Congress and the administration to what is not just fair but appropriate and will help to provide opportunity in many quarters. So I want to strongly support the Davis amendment.
Mr. TOWNS. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the gentleman from Alabama's amendment.
As a graduate of one of our nation's historically Black land-grant institutions, North Carolina A&T State University, I know how important these colleges and universities are to farmers in economically-distressed areas. To reduce the research and education activities by 17 percent and the expansion for extension activities by 10 percent imposes an onerous burden on these institutions and their ability to serve minority students and farmers. These cuts stand in marked contrast to the minimal reductions experienced by 1862 land-grant institutions.
Consequently, I would urge support for the gentleman's amendment which would restore $3.5 million for these colleges and universities. At a time when limited resource farmers are struggling for survival, we should not be undercutting their best educational resource, the extension arm of the 1890 colleges and universities.
Mr. SHAYS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment, which will restore funding to historically black 1890 land grant colleges, and thank ARTUR DAVIS for bringing this disparity to our attention.
When the Budget Committee, of which I am Vice-Chairman, debated this year's Budget Resolution, Mr. DAVIS alerted us to a troubling discrepancy. Under the budget, historically black 1890 Colleges of Agriculture would have federal funds cut by 3.1 percent, while predominantly non-minority 1862 land grant colleges were only cut by .6 percent. The Budget Committee agreed to insert language into the Budget Resolution stating 1862 and 1890 colleges should be treated equitably.
Under the budget, Capacity Building grants for research and education activities at 1890 colleges were cut 17 percent, while Facilities Expansion funding for Extension Activities were cut by 10 percent. Our amendment restores this funding.
There are 1,890 extension offices working directly with minority farmers. Their activities are vital to the success of these primarily agricultural institutions, and provide critical support for farmers in the most economically-distressed areas.
Because so little funding already flows to these activities, cuts of this magnitude could cripple the ability of 1890 institutions to pursue their mission.
Again, I thank Mr. DAVIS for offering this amendment and urge its passage.
The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Davis).
The amendment was agreed to.