May 17, 2016
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.
The legislation contains $56 billion in total discretionary funding, an increase of $279 million over fiscal year 2016 and $1.4 billion above the President’s request for these programs. The bill targets these increases to programs of national importance, such as federal law enforcement, national security (including cybercrime and counter-terror activities), economic development, illegal drug efforts, trade enforcement, and space exploration programs. The bill also includes legislative provisions to protect the Constitutional rights of all Americans and to limit bureaucratic overreach.
“Keeping our people safe from both international threats and domestic crime, promoting critical research, and helping to improve our economy are the top funding priorities in this legislation. By investing precious tax dollars wisely, this bill will adequately fund these critical activities, while maintaining strong accountability, efficiency, and oversight. And, by limiting the overreach of the federal government, the bill will also protect and promote the fundamental rights of all Americans,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
“It is a tough budget year, but this bill ensures our law enforcement officers have the resources they need to protect our lives and property. It also makes scientific research and space exploration a top priority. Breakthroughs in these areas are vital to America’s future economic growth,” said CJS Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson.
Department of Justice (DOJ) – The bill funds DOJ at $29 billion, an increase of $347 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. Within this funding, priority is given to critical activities that protect the safety, rights, and property of individuals and families across the nation.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – The bill includes $9.1 billion for the FBI – an increase of $279 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. This funding is adequate to maintain all critical functions of the FBI, with increases targeted to anti-cybercrime, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism programs.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – The DEA is funded at $2.1 billion – $23 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and equal to the request.
Within the DEA, priority is placed on anti-opioid and other illegal drug enforcement efforts. This includes $12.5 million in funding for four new heroin enforcement groups to combat growing heroin abuse and availability in the US. Also provided is $383 million for the Diversion Control Program (an $11 million increase) and $522 million for the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Forces (a $10 million increase).
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – The legislation contains $1.3 billion for the ATF, $18 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level.
The bill continues all legislative provisions carried in previous years to protect the Second Amendment rights of all Americans, and goes a step further to make four of these provisions permanent law. These four provisions relate to import applications on shotguns for sporting purposes, the importation of “curios and relics” firearms, the export of firearms to Canada, and a prohibition on “gun-walking, such as the disastrous “Fast and Furious” operation.
Also included is a prohibition on forcing an unauthorized reporting and registration requirement on consumers purchasing multiple rifles or shotguns.
- Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) – Funding for the EOIR is increased by $34 million, for a total of $457 million. This increase will provide for 25 additional immigration judge teams to process immigration reviews more quickly, and reduce the backlog of pending cases.
- Grant Programs – The bill includes a total of $2.3 billion for various grant programs, a reduction of $183 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $103 million below the request.
Within this amount, funds are increased within the highest-priority grant programs, including $528 million for the Violence Against Women account (an increase of $48 million), $425 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (an increase of $78 million), and $274 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (an increase of $64 million).
The bill also maintains funding for various other important grant programs at their current levels. This includes Adam Walsh Act grants ($20 million), National Instant Criminal System background check grants ($73 million), DNA Initiative grants ($125 million), the Reduce Sexual Assault Kits Backlog grants ($45 million), Second Chance Act grants ($68 million), and Missing and Exploited Children grants ($72 million).
The legislation reduces or eliminates a variety of lower-priority or duplicative grant programs.
- Opioid Abuse Reduction – Opioid abuse is a national epidemic, killing more people than car crashes each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bill includes $103 million for programs to help stem this abuse – the full amount recently authorized by the House-passed Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016. This includes funding for activities such as drug courts, treatment, and prescription drug monitoring.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $19.5 billion in the bill, $223 million above the 2016 enacted level and $1.2 billion above the President’s request. This funding includes:
- $4.2 billion for Exploration – $153 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. This includes funding to continue the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Space Launch System flight program and related ground systems.
- $5.6 billion for NASA Science programs – $8 million above the 2016 enacted level and $295 million above the President’s request. This targets funding to planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics to ensure the continuation of critical research and development programs, while reducing funding for lower-priority research.
Department of Commerce – The bill includes $9.1 billion for the Commerce Department, a reduction of $194 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $677 million below the President’s request for these programs. This includes funding for the following agencies:
- Economic Development Administration (EDA) – The legislation includes $265 million for the EDA, an increase of $3.5 million above the fiscal year 2016 level and $6 million above the President’s request. These funds will help spur increased international and domestic commerce, and help to boost economically recovering communities.
- Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $3.2 billion for the PTO, which is equal to the Congressional Budget Office estimated amount of fees to be collected by the PTO during fiscal year 2017. 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 $865 million in the bill – $99 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $150 million below the President’s request. Within this total, important core research activities are funded at $680 million to help advance U.S. competitiveness and economic growth, while other activities are reduced.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $5.6 billion for NOAA, which is $185 million below the enacted level and $268 million below the President’s request. Funding is targeted to important priorities such as the National Weather Service, which receives $1.1 billion – $12 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.
To make these investments, the bill reduces funding in lower-priority NOAA activities such as climate research, ocean services, and others.
- National Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $7.4 billion – $57 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $158 million below the President’s request. Research and Related Activities is increased by $46 million targeted to programs that foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for research on advanced manufacturing, physics, mathematics, cybersecurity, neuroscience and STEM education. Reductions are made in equipment and construction costs.
Trade Enforcement - The bill includes $15 million for the Trade Enforcement Trust fund, which is the full amount authorized by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. The bill also funds the International Trade Commission at $90 million, which is a $1.5 million increase above the enacted level, and increases Enforcement and Compliance at the International Trade Administration by $2 million above the request.
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, and making four of these provisions permanent;
- 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;
- A prohibition on funds for exports to the Cuban military officers or their families;
- A requirement for agencies to provide inspectors general with timely information.
- A continuation of 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: /UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2017-CJS-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf