June 28, 2017
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2018 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 $54 billion in total discretionary funding, a decrease of $2.6 billion below fiscal year 2017 and $4.8 billion above the President’s request for these programs. The bill targets funding increases for national security – including cybercrime, counter-terrorism and espionage. The bill also provides increases for federal law enforcement to crack down on illegal immigration, and combat violent crime, gangs and opioid trafficking. Funds are included to help boost trade enforcement, continue investments in space exploration programs, and advance groundbreaking science and technologies essential for innovation, productivity, and economic growth. In order to make these investments, lower-priority programs are reduced or eliminated.
“As we see on the news nearly every day, our nation is facing increased threats here at home. Federal law enforcement is essential to fighting these threats, protecting our people, and making sure that all those that do harm are brought to justice. This bill increases funding for law enforcement – making sure they have the resources they need to fight crime and terrorism,” House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “In addition, the bill includes important investments to boost U.S. scientific innovation that will maintain our nation’s status as a global leader.”
“This bill balances my two top priorities: being frugal with my constituents’ hard-earned tax dollars, while supporting federal law enforcement and scientific agencies with the resources they need to do their job. This legislation makes sure that America’s law enforcement agencies have enough money to effectively fight 21st century threats like cybercrime, terrorism and human trafficking,” said CJS Subcommittee Chairman John Culberson. “In addition, NASA has also earned the highest level of funding in the history of the agency. For too many years, NASA has been overloaded with too many missions and not enough funding. This bill guarantees NASA receives the funding they need to lift America’s space program above the glory days of Apollo.”
Department of Justice (DOJ) – The bill funds DOJ at $29 billion, an increase of $349 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. These investments will give federal law enforcement tools to thwart crime and terrorism, and bring criminals to justice.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – The bill includes $8.8 billion for FBI operations – an increase of $48 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This funding maintains critical functions of the FBI, including anti-cybercrime, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and violent crime reduction programs.
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – The DEA is funded at $2.6 billion – $98 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and equal to the request.
Within the DEA, priority is placed on anti-opioid and other illegal drug enforcement efforts. This includes enhancements for heroin enforcement, and additional resources to combat transnational organized crime and violent crimes. This also includes a $37 million increase in the Diversion Control Program to enhance opioid diversion investigations and prosecutions. In addition, the bill provides $526 million for the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Forces, a $9 million increase over the current level.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – The legislation contains $1.3 billion for the ATF, $35 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This funding will provide additional resources to reduce violent crime and expedite licensing applications.
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 $64.5 million, for a total of $505 million. This increase will provide for 65 additional immigration judge teams to process immigration reviews more quickly, and reduce the backlog of pending cases.
- U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) – The bill includes $2.8 billion for the USMS, an increase of $88 million above fiscal year 2017. This funding will strengthen border and immigration enforcement efforts and will provide an additional $82 million to support an increased detainee population from more vigorous violent and immigration crime enforcement initiatives.
- Grant Programs – The bill includes a total of $2.2 billion for various state and local law enforcement assistance grant programs.
Within this amount, funds are increased for the highest-priority grant programs, including $527 million for the Violence Against Women account (an increase of $46 million), $500 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (an increase of $104 million), and $220 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (an increase of $10 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 background check system 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 ($73 million).
- Anti-Opioid Abuse – 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 authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery 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 $19.9 billion, $219 million above the 2017 enacted level. This funding includes:
- $4.6 billion for Exploration – $226 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This includes funding to continue the development of the Orion crew vehicle and Space Launch System and related ground systems.
- $5.9 billion for NASA Science programs – $94 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This targets funding to planetary science and astrophysics to ensure the continuation of critical research and development programs, while reducing funding for lower-priority research.
Department of Commerce – The bill includes $8.3 billion for the Commerce Department, a reduction of $892 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This includes funding for the following agencies:
- Economic Development Administration (EDA) – The legislation includes $176 million for the EDA, a reduction of $100 million below the fiscal year 2017 level and $146 million above the President’s request. These funds will help facilitate international and domestic commerce, and help to boost economically recovering communities.
- Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) – The bill provides $3.5 billion for the PTO, which is equal to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of fees to be collected by the PTO during fiscal year 2018. 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 Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $7.3 billion – $133 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.Research and Related Activities are funded at the current level of $6 billion. These funds will foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for research on advanced manufacturing, physics, mathematics, cybersecurity, neuroscience, and STEM education.
Legal Services Corporation (LSC) – The bill funds LSC at $300 million – $85 million below the fiscal year 2017 level – and continues all existing LSC restrictions including those regarding abortion, representing illegal immigrants, and engaging in political activities.
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 $92.5 million, which is a $1 million increase above the enacted level, and increases Enforcement and Compliance at the International Trade Administration to the President’s request of $88.5 million.
Other Provisions – The bill includes several policy provisions, such as:
- Continues a prohibition on the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.;
- Continues various existing provisions related to firearms, such as a prohibition on the implementation of the UN Arms Trade Treaty, and making four of these provisions permanent;
- Prohibits unauthorized reporting and registration requirement on consumers purchasing multiple rifles or shotguns;
- Prevents settlement money from going to activist groups by prohibiting the Justice Department from entering into civil settlement agreements in which a defendant is required to make a donation to a third party;
- Prohibits 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;
- Combats cyberespionage by requiring agencies to conduct supply chain review before procuring sensitive information technology systems;
- Continues existing policies related to the sanctity of life.
For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: https://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-115hr-sc-ap-fy2018-cjs-commercejusticescience.pdf