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Appropriations Committee Releases the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Bill
Bill targets funding to federal law enforcement, national security efforts, and space exploration

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Washington, May 13, 2015 -

The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) 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.

The legislation contains $51.4 billion in total discretionary funding, an increase of $1.3 billion over fiscal year 2015 and $661 million below the President’s request for these programs. The bill prioritizes funding for law enforcement, national security, science, and space exploration programs.

“This legislation increases funds for some of the most important aspects of our government – federal law enforcement agencies and counterintelligence efforts that protect families and communities across the nation and bring those who break our laws to justice,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “It also maintains investments in important scientific research, economic innovation, and programs that will allow our nation to continue to lead in the global economy and put us on the fast track to increased job growth. It is a good bill, and I’m proud to support it.”

“This is a tough budget year, but this bill ensures our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to protect our lives and property," said CJS Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson. "It also makes important scientific research a top priority. Breakthroughs in these areas are vital to America’s future economic growth.”

Bill Highlights:

Department of Justice (DOJ) – The bill funds DOJ at $27.5 billion, an increase of $852 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This funding will strengthen critical investigation, law enforcement, and prosecution activities to protect the safety and well-being of communities across the country.

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – The bill includes $8.6 billion for the FBI – an increase of $111 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Within this funding, priority is given to counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and cybercrime.
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – The DEA is funded at $2.4 billion in the legislation, an increase of $45 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This includes $372 million for regulatory and enforcement efforts to combat prescription drug abuse.
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – The legislation contains $1.25 billion for the ATF, $49 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. The bill continues all provisions carried in previous years related to Second Amendment rights, and makes four of these provisions permanent law. Also included is a provision prohibiting funding for an unauthorized reporting and registration requirement on the sale of multiple rifles to the same person in various border states.
  • Grant Programs – The bill includes a total of $2 billion for various grant programs, a reduction of $334 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Within this amount, funds are targeted to the highest-priority national programs, including $474 million for Violence Against Women programs (an increase of $44 million), $409 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (an increase of $33 million), $220 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (which the President proposed to eliminate), and $68 million for missing and exploited children programs. 

In addition, the bill creates a new, $50 million “Community Trust Initiative.” This will fund efforts to improve the safety of local communities and support police training and research, including: $15 million for body camera pilots and research, $30 million for justice reform and collaboration efforts, and $5 million for improved statistics collection.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $18.5 billion in the bill, $519 million above the 2015 enacted level. This funding includes:

  • $4.8 billion for Exploration – $403 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This includes funding to continue the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System flight program, and to continue progress in the commercial crew program.
  • $5.2 billion for NASA Science programs – $7 million below the 2015 enacted level. This includes funding above the President’s request for planetary science to ensure the continuation of critical research and development programs.

Department of Commerce – The bill includes $8.2 billion for the Commerce Department, a reduction of $251 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $1.6 billion below the President’s request for these programs. This includes funding for the following agencies:

  • Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $3.3 billion for the PTO, which is equal to the estimated amount of fees to be collected by the PTO during fiscal year 2016. The bill also includes a provision that allows the PTO to use any fees in excess of the estimated collected amount, subject to congressional approval. 
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – NIST is funded at $855 million in the bill, which is $9 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Within this total, important core research activities are funded at $675 million to help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth, and to improve cyber security.

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $5.2 billion for NOAA, which is $274 million below the enacted level. Within this total, the National Weather Service is funded at $968 million – $4 million above the President’s request. The bill also includes full funding for the continuation of the current Joint Polar Satellite System weather satellite program and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite program to help maintain and improve weather forecasting to warn communities about potentially devastating natural disasters..

  • Census Bureau – The Census Bureau is funded at $1.1 billion in the bill, $25 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $387 million below the request. The additional funding is for research and planning activities as we approach the next decennial census. .

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $7.4 billion, an increase of $50 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This funding is targeted to programs that foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for research on advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, neuroscience and STEM education.

Savings – The bill makes reductions to several lower-priority programs for a savings of over $400 million compared to fiscal year 2015, and it rescinds $375 million in unused prior year funds.

Other Provisions – The bill includes several policy provisions, such as:

  • Continuation of a prohibition on the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.;

  • Continuation of various existing provisions related to firearms;

  • 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;

  • Prohibits funds for exports to the Cuban military officers or their families;

  • Continues language prohibiting funds to relinquish the responsibility of Department of Commerce with respect to Internet domain name system functions; and

  • A continuation of existing policies related to the sanctity of life.

For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2016-CJS-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

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