September 12, 2017

House Adopts Two Castro Amendments

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives adopted two amendments offered by Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20). One amendment ensures funding for the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program, and the second amendment provides a total of $25 million to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) body-worn camera grant program for state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. Both amendments are completely offset and do not increase the total funding level of the underlying spending bill. 

“While trade benefits Texas and our nation more broadly, U.S. workers and businesses must be able to adapt to the evolving international economic landscape. The Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program provides tools that enable Americans to thrive in the modern economy,” said Rep. Castro. “The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) administers TAAF for five states, helping our region’s businesses and workforce remain competitive. This amendment ensures this program is funded at levels consistent with previous years.”  

The underlying appropriations bill provides $140 million towards Economic Development Assistance (EDA) programs, but does not specify the amount of funding intended for TAAF. Congressman Castro’s amendment would direct $13 million of EDA’s total funding for Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms. TAAF programs are coordinated through local universities and centers in ten different states.

Congressman Castro’s second amendment increases funding for initiatives to improve police-community relations in DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), specifically providing an additional $2.5 million for the Body-Worn Camera Partnership Initiative, bringing the total amount allocated to that initiative up to $25 million. This increase is offset by a reduction to DOJ’s Salaries and Expenses. The Body-Worn Camera Partnership Initiative is a competitive matching grant program for purchases of body-worn cameras for State, local, and tribal law enforcement. In 2015, the House adopted a similar amendment of Congressman Castro’s that allocated an additional $10 million to the Department of Justice's body-worn camera programs.

“Police chiefs across the nation support body cameras, technology that improves officer safety and helps build trust between law enforcement and communities,” said Rep. Castro. “This amendment makes more resources available to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies that wish to purchase the equipment. Officers’ use of body-worn cameras increases transparency and accountability. I will continue to push for law enforcement at every level, including federal, to invest in and use the technology.”