Rogers Remarks at FY24 Budget Hearing for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (As Prepared)
The subcommittee will come to order. Without objection, the Chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time.
We welcome everyone to this morning’s hearing, and I will begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement.
I’d like to welcome our witness today, the Honorable Christopher Wray, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Director Wray has served in this role since August of 2017. He oversees an agency of over 35,000 people, including special agents, intelligence analysts, language specialists, scientists, and information technology specialists.
The FY24 budget request for FBI salaries and expenses is $11.3 billion, with $6.7 billion of that amount – about 60% – designated as defense spending. This is a 6% increase above the FY23 enacted level for salaries and expenses.
The FBI budget request includes $196 million in program increases and $409 million adjustments to base – representing the substantial increased cost of continuing the FBI’s current activities. The largest program increases requested are for FBI’s cyber investigative capabilities, an increase of $63 million, followed by an increase of $53 million for DNA lab support.
With Federal debt surpassing $31 trillion, it is imperative that this Committee ensure that every dollar provided to the agencies is spent efficiently and appropriately.
Director Wray, we look forward to the opportunity to discuss with you today the major cost drivers and threats challenging the FBI, such as the crisis at our southern border, and other challenges, such as the erosion of public trust in the Bureau.
Perhaps unfairly, faith in the FBI seems to be at an all-time low. Like it or not, many believe the FBI sometimes employs unnecessarily aggressive tactics, doesn’t hold itself to the same standards it holds the subjects of its investigations, or targets one side of the political spectrum more than the other.
I do not doubt that 99% or more of your agents go to work each day to do exactly what the America public wants them to do: defend the U.S. against terrorists and espionage, help get deadly fentanyl off our streets, rescue child victims, protect the elderly from vicious phone scams, and more. FBI agents risk their lives in pursuit of these efforts, and many, sadly, have given their lives in service to our nation.
Americans need the FBI to remain focused on its mission and do all it can to stay above the political fray.
I hope to learn more about the FBI’s efforts to combat transnational organized crime and the introduction of synthetic opioids to the U.S. market, including fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. I also want to hear about the FBI’s efforts to combat the wide range of illegal activities along our southern border.
Mr. Wray, once again, we appreciate you being here to answer our questions and your hard work on behalf of the American people.
Before we proceed, I would like to recognize Ranking Member Cartwright for any remarks he may wish to make.