On April 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved, 30-0, the FY2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies spending bill (S. 2837). The Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee approved the measure on April 19. 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 $56.3 billion in overall funds for FY2017. This amount is $563 million more than FY2016 and $985 million over President Obama’s budget request.
The Department of Justice would receive $29.2 billion in FY2017. This amount represents an increase of $156 million over FY2016. Included in this amount is $2.36 billion for state and local law enforcement grant programs, including the Office on Violence Against Women and juvenile justice programs.
The Office on Violence Against Women would receive $481.5 million, the highest funding level ever. Additionally, the bill would establish the Domestic Violence Firearm Lethality Reduction Initiative. The program would receive $4 million to improve the response of law enforcement in addressing the safety of domestic violence victims in cases involving firearms.
The bill would provide $45 million for a competitive grant to support multi-disciplinary community response teams to develop and implement reforms regarding sexual assault, including reducing the backlog of rape kits. The legislation also would provide $384 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, which includes $170 million for initiatives to address rape kit and other DNA evidence backlogs.
The Executive Office of the United States Attorneys would receive $2.03 billion. This funding would include $46.4 million to continue investigations and prosecutions related to the sexual exploitation of children under the Adam Walsh Act (P.L. 109-248). In addition, the U.S. Marshals Service would receive $2.71 billion, which would include $61.3 million to continue its efforts under the Adam Walsh Act and $5 million to implement the International Megan’s Law (P.L. 114-119) (see The Source, 4/15/16 and 12/18/15).
The Federal Bureau of Investigations would receive $9.45 billion in FY2017. This amount is $156 million over FY2016 and would include $79 million for the Innocent Images National Initiative to target and investigate sexual predators on the Internet.
The Crime Victims Fund would receive $2.957 billion in FY2017. The bill, as amended, would divert five percent of those funds to address domestic violence and sexual abuse in tribal jurisdictions.
The Legal Services Corporation would receive $395 million, $10 million over FY2016.
Additional information will be made available when the committee releases its report.