Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Committee Clears Fiscal 2008 Funding Legislation


Washington, D.C . Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies approved Fiscal Year 2008 legislation that makes key investments in agencies that will protect communities across the nation from terrorist attack and violent crime, while also advancing scientific research and technology that will improve Americas ability to compete in a global economy. The bill also provides for research and technology development that is critical to our understanding and prediction of changes in the earths climate and oceans, and includes provisions for oversight and accountability of taxpayer dollars. The Committee allocates a total of $54.646 billion for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Atmospheric and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation, and nine related independent agencies.

The components of this bill are critical to strengthening Americas economy, creating safe communities, and ensuring further advancement in our technology sector, said Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. We restore crucial funds to state and local law enforcement so they have the necessary resources to ensure the safety of our communities. We invest in job training and scientific research to help our nation meet the global challenges in this 21st century. And we invest in the science, math, and engineering sectors to help keep our young folks from seeking employment opportunities abroad. I applaud Senator Mikulski s leadership and all members of the Committee who have contributed to this excellent bill.

The FBI has released alarming statistics documenting a rise in violent crime across the country. Increases in violent crime in 2005 and 2006 were the first such increases in 14 years. The number of robbery offenses nation wide increased by 9.7 percent, murder offenses by 1.4 percent and aggravated assault offenses by 1.2 percent. Cities with populations of 500,000 to 1 million had the most marked increase in murder offenses, up 8.4 percent. Despite these increases, the President has proposed to cut state and local law enforcement programs by $1.4 billion or 55 percent. The Committee restores these cuts in anti-crime programs and provides an increase of seven percent over 2007. "When I look at the agencies in our jurisdiction, I see tremendous opportunities to promote innovation that creates jobs and make our communities more secure, while ensuring accountability and stewardship of taxpayer dollars," said Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. "The funding we put into the federal checkbook must make a down payment on these priorities."

The FY 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Committee Appropriations bill includes provisions for the following:

Department of Commerce

The bill provides a total of $7.35 billion for the Department of Commerce, $754 million above the Presidents budget request and $725 million above the FY 2007 level.

Department of Commerce Highlights

Bureau of the Census The bill provides $1.25 billion for the Census Bureau, $355 million above the FY 2007 level and $18 million above the Presidents budget request. The Committee fully funds the budget request for the 2010 Census. The Committees also includes $18 million in additional funding to restore the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which the Presidents budget eliminated. Data from the SIPP informs policy decisions related to important low-income programs.

Economic Development Administration (EDA) The bill provides $283 million for the EDA, $3 million above the FY 2007 enacted level and $80 million above the Presidents budget request. The legislation provides a total of $250 million for economic development assistance programs for communities, which the Presidents budget cut by $80 million.

Emergency Steel Loan Guarantee Program (ESLGP) The Committee does not approve the Presidents request to terminate the Emergency Steel Loan Guarantee Program. The request proposed to rescind the loan funds entire balance of $49 million, effectively terminating the program.

International Trade Administration (ITA) The bill provides $417 million for ITA, $22 million above the FY 2007 enacted level and $5 million above the Presidents budget request. The Committee includes $3 million above the Presidents budget request to enable ITA to hire additional analysts and enforcement officers to rigorously enforce U.S. antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) laws. These positions are important in safeguarding U.S. industries and jobs against injurious unfair foreign trade practices.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) The bill provides $863 million for NIST, $186 million above the FY 2007 level and $222 million above the Presidents budget request. The Committee provides $100 million for the Advanced Technology Program (ATP), which the Presidents budget eliminated. The bill also includes $110 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program, $64 million above the Presidents budget request.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) The bill provides $4.215 billion for NOAA, $137 million above the FY 2007 level and $405 million above the Presidents budget request. The Committee bill includes: $636 million for the National Ocean Service; $927 million for the National Weather Service, $765 million for the National Marine Fisheries Service; $1 billion for satellite programs, and $439 million for research. The Committee bill also includes a total of $795 million to implement the Joint Ocean Commission Initiatives recommendations for greater stewardship of our oceans. Language included in the bill directs the Initiative to focus on research, education, observation, and exploration.

Department of Justice

The bill provides a total of $24.31 billion for the Department of Justice, $1.46 billion above the FY 2007 level and $2.06 billion above the Presidents budget request.

Department of Justice Highlights

State and Local Law Enforcement State and Local law enforcement is funded at $2.66 billion, which is $177 million above FY 2007 and $1.55 billion above the Presidents budget request. Although violent crime has risen by 3% in communities across the nation, the Presidents budget cut significant funds that would help local law enforcement meet the needs of this trend. The Committee had serious concerns with this gap in the Presidents request and commits real dollars to help local law enforcement officers combat crime.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) DEA is funded at $1.85 billion, $109 million above FY 2007 and $52 million above the Presidents budget request. The additional funding is provided to lift a hiring freeze and to restore a program that provides DEA support to state and local law enforcement officials.

Bureau of Prisons (BOP) BOP is funded at $5.649 billion, $218 million above FY 2007 and $285 million above the Presidents budget request. The Committee provides the full budget request for salaries and expenses for the BOP. The legislation also includes $400 million for prison construction.

Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) The FBI is funded at $6.579 billion, $538 million above FY 2007 and $147 million above the Presidents budget request. The legislation also includes: $30 million above the Presidents budget request to provide an additional 100 agents dedicated to fighting violent crime; an additional $8 million to fund 31 new agents dedicated to internet crime against children, and an additional $13 million for the detection, investigation, and prosecution of domestic and international intellectual property crimes against the United States.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ATF is funded at $1.05 billion, $65 million above FY 2007 and $35 million above the Presidents budget request. The additional $35 million above the Presidents request is for the National Center for Explosives Training and Research.

U.S. Marshals Service The U.S. Marshals Service is funded at $905 million, $86 million above FY 2007 and $5 million above the Presidents budget request. The additional $5 million is to establish an additional Regional Fugitive Task Force to address the increase workload associated with implementation of the Adam Walsh Act.

Science

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

The bill provides $17.46 billion for NASA, $1.2 billion above FY 2007 and $150 million above the Presidents budget request. The bill fully funds the Presidents budget request for Space Shuttle operations ($4 billion) and Space Station operations ($2.2 billion). The bill also provides: the full Presidents budget request of $3.9 billion for development of the next generation Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV, called Ares) and Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV, called Orion), $5.66 billion for science; and $554 million for aeronautics research.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The bill provides $6.553 billion for NSF, $636 million above FY 2007 and $124 million above the Presidents budget request. The Committee includes $100 million above the Presidents budget request to improve science and mathematics education.

Related Agencies

Commission on Civil Rights The Committee provides $9 million, equal to the FY 2007 level and the Presidents budget request.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission The Committee provides $378 million, $49 million above FY 2007 and $50 million above the Presidents budget request.

International Trade Commission The Committee provides $68.4 million, $6 million above FY 2007 and equal to the Presidents budget request.

Legal Services Corporation The Committee provides $390 million for LSC, a $42 million increase above FY 2007 and $79 million above the Presidents budget request.

Marine Mammal Commission The Committee provides $3 million, $100,000 above FY 2007 and $700,000 above the Presidents budget request.

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) The Committee provides $48 million, $4 million above FY 2007 and $4 million above the Presidents budget request.

State Justice Institute The Committee provides $3.5 million, $45,000 above FY 2007 and $3.5 million above the Presidents budget request.

Reductions and Terminations

Department of Commerce

Technology Administration The Committees eliminates this office which has been poorly managed and has become irrelevant to technology policy development within the federal government.

Under Secretary for Statistics and Analysis The Committee reduces funding for this office by 50 percent. This office is poorly managed and does not provide value to the American taxpayer.

Department of Justice

Detention Trustee The Committee includes a $135 million rescission to the Office of Detention Trustee because the Presidents budget over- estimated the needs for housing and transporting prisoners.

Information Technology The Committee reduces information technology programs by $10 million because the programs have been poorly managed and have numerous cost overruns.

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