Summary of 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill
FY 2016 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Act
Highlights and Key Points
The 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill fails to protect the safety and security of hardworking Americans, proposing massive cuts to critical community policing services, law enforcement grants, and priorities important to coastal communities. Further, the bill expands ideological policy riders benefiting special interests to undermine gun safety laws.
2015 enacted: $50.1 billion
2016 President’s request: $52.0 billion
2016 House bill: $51.4 billion
*Significant differences in Asset Forfeiture Fund balances, rescissions, and scorekeeping adjustments exist between the FY2015 and FY2016 CJS Acts, making topline comparisons misleading. In total new discretionary budget authority, the FY2016 bill provides approximately flat funding from last year’s enacted level and $3.5 billion less than the President’s request.
The bill provides:
- $2.0 billion overall for total State and Local Law Enforcement Activities, a massive $325 million cut from the FY2015 enacted level and $495 million less than the President’s request. Additionally, the bill provides no funding for the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ), reducing grant funding by an additional estimated $81 million.
- No funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program. The COPS office is provided $237.5 million, which is $29.5 million more than the FY2015 enacted level and $66 million less than the request. However, the bill shifts more than $200 million in grants, previously funded elsewhere in the bill, to the COPS program, making the “increase” over last year’s level an illusion.
- $184 million for Juvenile Justice, which is $68 million less than the FY2015 level and $156 million less than the request.
- $5.2 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is $274 million less than the FY2015 enacted level and $807 million less than the request. Cuts are concentrated in oceanic and atmospheric research, climate research, and programs critical to coastal districts like the National Ocean Service, Coastal Zone Management Grants, Sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. No funding is provided for Regional Coastal Resilience Grants.
- $410 million for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, which is $23 million less than the FY2015 enacted level and $75 million less than the request. In particular, climate research is cut by $30 million (19%) below FY2015 and $61 million below the request.
- $968 million for the National Weather Service, which is $13 million more than the FY2015 enacted level and $4 million more than the request.
- $1.1 billion for the Census Bureau, which is $387 million less than the President’s budget request, hindering efforts to ensure an efficient 2020 Census utilizing innovative and cost-effective enumeration practices.
- $300 million for Legal Services Corporation, which is $75 million less than the FY2015 enacted level and $152 million less than the request.
- Office of Justice Programs
- $409 million for the Byrne-JAG program, which is $33 million above the FY2015 enacted level and $21 million more than the President’s budget request.
- $479 million for Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution. While this is an increase of $49 million above the FY2015 enacted level, this is deceptive because the bill moves $25 million in funding for Victims of Trafficking grants into VAWA, leaving the account funded only $24 million above last year’s level and $19.5 million below the request.
- $8.55 billion for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is $111 million more than the FY2015 enacted level and $64 million more than the request.
- $2.07 billion for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is $41 million above the FY2015 enacted level and $18 million less than the request.
- $1.25 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which is $49 million more than the FY2015 level and $11 million less than the request.
- $7.0 billion for Federal Prison System operations, which is $137 million more than the FY2015 enacted level and $253 million less than the request.
- $7.39 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is $50 million more than the FY2015 level and $329 million less than the request.
- Cuts Geosciences and Social, Behavioral and Economic Science at the National Science Foundation by $257 million below the FY 2015 level.
- $18.53 billion for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which is $519 million more than the FY2015 enacted level and equal to the request.
- The bill seeks to expand firearms riders by making permanent the following policy riders:
- Preventing the federal government from prohibiting import of curios and relics;
- Preventing the federal government from issuing regulations relating to the export of certain firearms parts and accessories to Canada;
- Preventing the federal government from issuing regulations characterizing certain shotguns as “non-sporting” due to military-style features; and
- Prohibiting federal agents from facilitating the transfer of an operable firearm to any individual associated with a drug cartel (“Fast and Furious” provision).
- The bill includes a provision preventing the Department of Justice from requiring Federal firearms licensees to report on the sale of multiple long guns to the same person.
- The bill would continue the following policy riders related to firearms on a one-year basis:
- Prohibiting transferring functions of ATF to other agencies;
- Prohibiting funding to implement the Arms Trade Treaty, absent ratification by the Senate; and
- The bill meddles foolishly in foreign policy by prohibiting funds to “facilitate, permit, license, or promote exports to the Cuban military or intelligence service,” an unnecessary distraction from the focus of this critical bill.