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Appropriations Committee Releases the Fiscal Year 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations
Updated 07/07/11

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Washington, Jul 6, 2011 -

The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.

In total, the legislation contains $50.2 billion in funding. This is a reduction of $3.1 billion or 6% below last year’s level, and $7.4 billion or 13% below the President’s request for these programs. This total is also 3% below the pre-stimulus, pre-bailout level of 2008.

“This legislation includes funding for some of the most critical aspects of government – the protection of our people here at home, the competiveness of our businesses and industries, and the scientific research that will help America continue to lead the world in innovation. However, given this time of fiscal crisis, it is also important that Congress make tough decisions to cut programs where necessary to give priority to programs with broad national reach that have the most benefit to the American people,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.

“I believe the subcommittee mark achieves significant spending reduction goals while at the same time preserving core priorities. Within a tight allocation, we have focused resources on the most critical areas – fighting crime and terrorism; and boosting U.S. competitiveness through investments in science. Despite the difficult choices that were made, this legislation includes a number of positive initiatives to create jobs by promoting economic growth and innovation here at home,” Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf said.

For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/CJSFY12_SUBC_xml.pdf

For a summary table comparing the bill with last year’s level and the President’s request, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/FY_2012_CJS_Summary_Table.pdf

Bill Highlights:

Department of Commerce – The bill contains $7.1 billion for the Commerce Department – a reduction of $464 million or 6% below last year’s level, and $1.7 billion or 19% below the President’s request. This includes funding for the following agencies:

  • International Trade Administration (ITA) – The ITA administers and enforces U.S. trade laws, and protects U.S. interests and competitiveness abroad. The ITA is funded at $460 million in the legislation -- $10 million above last year’s level. The additional funds will support high priority National Export Initiatives to boost U.S. exports and help grow the economy.
  • Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $2.7 billion for the PTO – the full requested level. This funding is equal to the estimated amount of fees to be collected by the PTO during fiscal year 2012, and is an increase of $588 million or 28% above last year’s level. The bill also includes language that allows PTO to keep and use any fees in excess of the estimated collected amount, subject to standard Congressional approval, and includes language requiring PTO to report on efforts to reduce the patent application backlog
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – NIST is funded at $701 million in the bill, which is $49 million below last year’s level and $300 million below the President’s request. Within this total, important core research activities to help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth are increased by $10 million above last year’s level. In addition, funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program – which provides training and technical assistance to U.S. manufacturers – is maintained at last year’s level of $128 million.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $4.5 billion for NOAA, which is a cut of $103 million below last year’s level and $1 billion below the President’s request. Within this total, National Weather Service operations and systems are fully funded at the requested level, and an increase of $430 million is included for the Joint Polar Satellite System weather satellite program to ensure the continuation of important weather data collection.
  • Census Bureau – The Census Bureau is funded at $855 million in the bill, which is a cut of $294 million – or 25% – below last year’s level.
  • Economic Development Administration (EDA) – The bill includes $258 million in funding for the EDA – $26 million below last year’s level and $67 million below the President’s request.  This includes $5 million in grant funding to attract U.S. jobs that have gone to other countries back into the U.S., and $5 million in loan guarantees to help advance innovative manufacturing technologies.

Department of Justice (DOJ) – The bill funds DOJ at $26 billion, a decrease of $1 billion below last year’s level and $2.4 billion below the President’s request. This funding level will provide for the continuation of critical legal and security activities at DOJ, while trimming spending in lower priority and non-essential areas. For example, administrative activities at DOJ are funded at $72 million – a cut of $46 million below last year and $62 million below the President’s request.

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – The bill includes $8.1 billion for the FBI – an increase of $149 million above last year’s level and the same as the request. This includes increases for national security programs, investigations of computer attacks, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs, analyst training, and violent crime and gang reduction programs.
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – The DEA is funded at $2.3 billion in the legislation, an increase of $30 million over last year’s level and $56 million below the President’s request. This includes an increase of $31 million for regulatory and enforcement efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, $15 million (by transfer) to assist states and communities with hazardous material clean-up at meth lab sites, and $10 million for temporary facilities for 100 additional staff at the Southern Border related to counternarcotics efforts.
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – The legislation contains $1.1 billion for the ATF, the same funding level as last year and $35 million below the request. The bill also includes long standing funding prohibitions related to firearms privacy and records.
  • U.S. Marshals Service – The Marshals Service is funded at $1.1 billion in the bill – the same funding level as last year. Within this funding, the legislation gives priority to sex offender apprehension and judicial protection in the Southwest Border region.
  • Federal Prison System – The Bureau of Prisons is funded at $6.4 billion, which is an increase of $30 million over last year’s level and $412 million below the request. This funding will help activate completed prisons to ensure safe and adequate facilities to house the nation’s criminal population. The bill also prohibits funding for construction or acquisition of a prison within the U.S. to house Guantanamo detainees.
  • Grant Programs – The bill includes a total of $1.7 billion for various grant programs, which is $1.1 billion below last year’s level and $1.3 billion below the request. In this time of fiscal crisis, the Committee made the tough choice to fund only the highest priority programs with national reach and broad purposes. Within the total, Violence Against Women programs and Missing and Exploited Children programs are funded at last year’s levels. Byrne Justice Assistance Grants are funded at $357 million – a decrease of $73 million below last year.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $16.8 billion in the bill, which is $1.6 billion below last year’s level and $1.9 billion below the President’s request. This funding includes:

  • $3.65 billion for Space Exploration which is $152 million below last year. This includes funding above the request for NASA to meet Congressionally mandated program deadlines for the newly authorized crew vehicle and launch system.
  • $4.1 billion for Space Operations which is $1.4 billion below last year’s level. The legislation will continue the closeout of the Space Shuttle program for a savings of $1 billion.
  • $4.5 billion for NASA Science programs, which is $431 million below last year’s level. The bill also terminates funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is billions of dollars over budget and plagued by poor management.

National Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $6.9 billion, the same as last year’s level and $907 million below the President’s request. Within this funding, NSF’s core research is increased by $43 million to enhance basic research that is critical to innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness.

Other Provisions – The bill includes several general provisions, including:

  • A prohibition on the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.
  • Rescissions of over $1 billion in unobligated balances left over from previous years
  • A prohibition on NASA or the Office of Science and Technology Policy from engaging in bilateral activities with China unless authorized by Congress.

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