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Commerce-Justice-State Spending Bill Approved by Subcommittee

On June 27, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary approved, by voice vote, its FY2002 spending bill (as-yet-unnumbered). The $38.5 billion spending bill is $600 million above the President’s request and $1 billion more than FY2001.

Violence Against Women Act programs would receive a $103 million increase to $391 million, the same amount requested by the President. Juvenile justice programs would be level-funded at $298 million in FY2002, also the same amount requested by the President.

Justice Department programs aimed at combating international trafficking in women and children would receive $10 million, the amount authorized under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (P.L. 106-386).

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would be level-funded at $310 million, the same amount requested by the President. Additionally, the Legal Services Corporation would be level-funded at $330 million, the same amount requested by the President.

Under the bill, the Small Business Administration would receive $728 million, a $130 million reduction from FY2001 but $186 million more than the President’s request.

The bill also maintains the current prohibition on the use of funds for abortions at federal prisons. Current law includes an exception if the pregnancy is the result of rape or if the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. The Bureau of Prisons is required to provide transportation for female inmates to obtain abortion services outside the prison.

During the 45-minute mark-up, Rep. David Obey (D-WI) offered and withdrew an amendment that would have provided $3 million to study prisoner abuses, including sexual abuse, at state and federal prisons. Disagreement over which federal agency should undertake the study led Rep. Obey to withdraw the amendment. He is expected to offer a revised version at the full committee mark-up.

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