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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Commerce, Justice, Science Spending Bill

On June 11, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved, 27-3, the FY2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies spending bill (as-yet-unnumbered). The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee approved the measure on June 10. The legislation provides funding for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, and federal science agencies, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation, among others.

According to the committee summary, the measure would allocate $51.06 billion in discretionary funds for FY2016. This amount is $965 million above FY2015, but $985 million below President Obama’s request.

The Department of Justice would receive $27.8 billion in FY2016. This amount represents an increase of $798 million over FY2015; the administration requested $28.654 billion for FY2016. Included in this amount is $2.3 billion for state and local law enforcement grant programs, including the Office on Violence Against Women and juvenile justice programs.

The legislation would provide $382 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants. Within this program, $166 million would be for initiatives that will address rape kit and other DNA evidence backlogs.

The Executive Office for United States Attorneys and the 94 U.S. Attorneys offices would receive $1.97 billion. This funding includes $44 million to continue Adam Walsh Act investigations and prosecutions related to the sexual exploitation of children. In addition, U.S. Marshals would receive $2.66 billion, which includes $56 million to continue its efforts under the Adam Walsh Act (P.L. 109-248) to apprehend convicted sex offenders who fail to register.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations would receive $8.5 billion in FY2016, which includes $74.8 million for the Innocent Images National Initiative to target and investigate sexual predators on the Internet.

The legislation would provide $364.5 million, equal to the amount enacted in FY2015, for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Legal Services Corporation would receive $385 million, $10 million over FY2015, while the Commission on Civil Rights would receive $9.2 million, which is equal to the FY2015 funding level.

Additional information will be made available when the committee releases its report.

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