U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) questioned U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, during a budget hearing for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), about the department's plans to reduce federal funding and support for crime prevention and drug enforcement activities in fiscal year 2017.
Rogers expressed his disappointment with the DOJ's temporary suspension of Equitable Sharing payments to state and local law enforcement agencies from the proceeds of the Asset Forfeiture program.
"These funds are essential in helping local law enforcement fight drug trafficking," said Rogers. "The men and women working at these state and local agencies are your partners, often working side-by-side with federal agents. DOJ must find a way to restore these payments as soon as possible to avoid permanent harm to public safety around the country."
In addition to scolding the DOJ for its tacit approval of marijuana legalization efforts nationwide and lack of enforcement of federal laws, Rogers also warned Attorney General Lynch about proposed budget cuts that could backtrack ongoing holistic efforts to curb the prescription drug abuse epidemic.
The DOJ budget proposal slashes the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program by $39.6 million and cuts another $1 million from the national Prescription Drug Monitoring program (PDMP).
"Such a drastic reduction in federal support will be devastating for state and local partners, particularly as we work collaboratively to address the terrible - and magnifying - opioid epidemic," said Rogers, regarding the Byrne-JAG program. "Thanks in large part to the PDMP grant program, 49 of 50 states have implemented a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program - and the monitoring of prescription medications by physicians and authorized law enforcement rightfully remains a key prong of the Administration's anti-drug strategy."
Click here to watch the FY17 budget hearing for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit http://halrogers.house.gov/ or follow Rogers on Twitter, Instagram or on Facebook.