House panel proposes $383M funding boost for Justice Department

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday released the third of 12 annual spending bills it is developing for fiscal 2015, which starts in October.
 
The Commerce, Justice and Science bill provides $51.2 billion in funding, a cut of $398 million below the current level. The legislation will be marked up in subcommittee on Wednesday.
 
The Department of Justice gets an increase of an increase of $383 million to $27.8 billion under the legislation, while the FBI gets $125 million more for a total of $8.5 billion.
 
The National Science Foundation; Bureau of Prisons; Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and NASA all get increases as well. 
 
To help pay for the increases, the bill eliminates several dozen small programs for savings of more than $250 million, cuts grants by $73 million and rescinds unspent past funding. 
 
“The bill makes job creation a top priority by maintaining manufacturing and job repatriation initiatives, while focusing resources and oversight on trade enforcement against foreign competitors who are violating trade agreements. It also includes a significant focus on expanding the FBI's cybersecurity efforts and on protecting U.S. networks from foreign espionage and cyberattacks,” Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said. 
 
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The bill is the last for Chairman Wolf, who is retiring. The early release of the bill is part of the committee’s plan to pass all 12 spending bills in the House by August. 
 
The base bill is expected to be relatively noncontroversial, but it tends to attract controversial riders in the full committee markup, including ones dealing with gun policy.
 
Democrats can be expected to say that climate research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is underfunded, and to seek more funding for the COPS program and Legal Services Corp. 
 
On the other hand, Democratic priorities of funding for Violence Against Women Act, sexual assault investigation, space exploration and weather forecasting appear to be addressed. 
 
Riders from past years are maintained, including a prohibition on the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.; a prohibition on NASA and the Office of Science and Technology Policy engaging in bilateral activities with China unless authorized or certified via procedures established in the bill, and a prohibition on direct abortion funding.