House blocks cuts to COPS program

The House late Wednesday evening adopted a proposal offered by Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) that would prevent cuts to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in fiscal 2015.

The COPS program is an office within the Justice Department that provides grants to police departments around the country. Members gave voice vote approval to Reichert's amendment to the fiscal 2015 appropriations bill funding the Justice Department, Commerce Department and science programs.

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Reichert's amendment would increase the appropriation for the COPS program by $110 million, which would align it with the 2014 level. It would be offset with cuts to Census Bureau funding by the same amount.

"We cannot protect this nation without adequate funding for law enforcement," Reichert said. "This program is vital."

"We certainly couldn't take it and accept a 61 percent cut for the fiscal year," said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). 

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations subcommittee, agreed that the COPS program should be spared from cuts but warned against slashing funds from the Census Bureau.

"I think Mr. Reichert makes a very, very powerful case," Wolf said. But, he cautioned, "there will be some pain, we are going to have to work this thing out."

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