House may begin considering DOJ appropriations next week

The House will likely begin consideration of the third 2015 appropriations bill of the year to provide $52 billion to the Commerce Department, Justice Department and science programs.

Consideration of the bill sets up likely fights over gun laws and Guantanamo Bay, among other provisions. The House Rules Committee will meet Monday evening to determine debate parameters for the measure, but a full House vote might not come until the following week.

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The measure would be a reduction of $398 million below the current enacted level of spending.

The legislation provides $27.8 billion for the Justice Department, which would be an increase of $383 million over the current level. It also includes $1.2 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which would be $21 million more than the enacted level.

Democrats are likely to try to offer amendments to lift restrictions on the ATF's ability to require gun dealers to report on their inventories. Such proposals are expected to be defeated by Republicans.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) offered an amendment during the House Appropriations Committee markup to remove a restriction on the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the U.S. court system for trial. The panel rejected Moran's proposal, but it may come up again during House floor debate.

The measure would also provide $8.35 billion for the Commerce Department, which would be an increase of $171 million. The funding would include allocations for the Patent and Trademark Office, Census Bureau and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Spending is also outlined in the bill for science programs including the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA is funded at $17.9 billion, a boost of $250 million.

The House passed the 2015 military construction and legislative branch appropriations bills earlier this month. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said his goal is to pass as many of the 12 annual appropriations measures as possible before the August recess.

-This post was updated at 1:35 p.m.