SUMMARY: Fiscal Year 2020 Senate Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
Washington, D.C. – The fiscal year 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill provides a total of $70.8 billion in discretionary funding, consistent with the Subcommittee’s 302(b) allocation. This amount is $6.7 billion more than fiscal year 2019 and $1.1 billion more than the President’s request. In addition, under the terms of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, there is an additional cap adjustment of $2.5 billion for the 2020 Census, bringing the total discretionary funding in the bill to $73.8 billion.
The CJS bill invests in a wide range of critical programs that affect the lives of all Americans. The bill provides $32.4 billion, $1.5 billion more than fiscal year 2019 and $1.8 billion more than the President’s request for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to keep America safe from criminals and terrorists. The Department of Commerce receives $15.2 billion to warn Americans about severe weather, promote American businesses and exports, create cybersecurity standards, protect American ideas, foster economic development, enable sustainable management of ocean resources, and conduct the 2020 Census. This amount is $3.8 billion higher than the fiscal year 2019 level and $2.7 billion higher than the President’s Request. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is funded at $22.75 billion to explore the solar system and protect our planet.
Key Points & Highlights –
Responding to Substance Abuse in Our Communities. The bill provides our communities, including first responders, a total of $505 million in dedicated grant program funding to fight substance abuse, including opioids, and drug trafficking. The largest part of this funding is $378 million for Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) grants, an increase of $31 million above the fiscal year 2019 funding level and $48 million more than President’s request. The bill rejects the Administration’s plan to eliminate the anti-heroin task force program within the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office, instead providing $35 million, an increase of $3 million more than the fiscal year 2019 level. The bill also provides $12 million for anti-methamphetamine task force program, an increase of $4 million more than the fiscal year 2019 level and $12 million more than the President’s request.
Law Enforcement. Federal law enforcement agencies within the DOJ including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Bureau of Prisons all receive at least a 3 percent increase in this bill and are funded at a total of $22.5 billion, $697 million more than fiscal year 2019 and $464 million more than the President’s request. The bill rejects the proposal included in the President’s request to move High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area grants from the Office of National Drug Control Policy to the DEA. The Byrne-JAG program is funded at $545 million, an increase of $121.5 million more than the fiscal year 2019 level and $139.8 million more than the President’s request. COPS Hiring is funded at $245 million, an increase of $16.5 million more than the fiscal year 2019 level and $174 million more than the President’s request, which will place approximately 1,300 more police officers on the streets of our communities.
Combatting Gun Violence. This bill fights gun violence with nearly $1.3 billion in resources to help keep our homes, schools, and neighborhoods safe. This amount is $49.5 million more than fiscal year 2019 and $26.2 million more than the President’s request. The bill provides $131 million to the FBI, an increase of $24.9 million above fiscal year 2019 and $16.3 million more than the President’s request, to run instant background checks so legal buyers can exercise their Second Amendment rights while keeping guns out of the hands of known criminals. It will give the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) a total of $913 million, an increase of $21.3 million more than the fiscal year 2019 level and $1.6 million more than the President’s request, for criminal enforcement, investigations, and inspections to enforce gun laws, trace firearms found at crime scenes, and keep illegal guns away from traffickers and criminals. The bill also provides a total of $208.3 million in Justice grant programs to address gun violence and keep our communities safe including $78.3 million for all states to improve the quality of criminal and mental health records so interstate background checks are more effective, $10 million to train local police on how to respond to active shooter situations through POLICE Act grants, $12 million for improved officer safety through VALOR grants, $8 million for Community Based Violence Prevention grants, and $100 million for STOP School Violence Act grants.
Police Officer Mental Health and Wellness. This bill takes steps to address the growing challenge of the mental health of our police officers as well as addressing police suicide. Of the $5 million provided for the purposes of the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, $3 million is dedicated to grants to State and local law enforcement agencies to improve mental health services, training to reduce the stigma of officers seeking help, and programs to address handling repeated exposure to stress and trauma. As no federal agencies currently keep statistics regarding police suicide, the Department of Justice is directed to now collect data on this critical issue and report on it.
First Step Act Implementation. For the first time, this bill provides dedicated new funding of $75 million, the fully authorized level, for implementation of the First Step Act (FSA) criminal justice reform legislation that was signed into law in December 2018. This funding will allow the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to complete the Risk and Needs Assessment tool, which will assess each inmate’s risks and needs, assign inmates to appropriate evidence-based recidivism reduction programs, and establish of additional earned time credits. BOP is further directed to expand programs covered under the FSA including medication assisted treatment programs, recidivism reduction partnerships with non-governmental and faith-based organizations, and assisting with securing identification documentation and benefits when inmates are nearing their release date.
Addressing Violence Against Women. The bill contains $500 million, the highest funding level ever, for grants provided by the Office on Violence Against Women. Funding is provided for multiple competitive and formula grant programs that support training for police officers and prosecutors, state domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions, rape prevention programs, lethality assessment and homicide reduction initiatives, domestic violence hotlines, and women’s shelters and transitional housing support services. The bill provides $48 million to support the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, which supports multi-disciplinary community response teams tasked with developing and implementing comprehensive reform regarding sexual assault, including reducing the backlog of rape kits at law enforcement agencies.
Census Bureau. The Census not only determines Congressional apportionment, but also is relied on to distribute $900 billion in Federal funds. The bill provides $7.6 billion for the Census Bureau, an increase of $3.7 billion above the fiscal year 2019 enacted amount and $1.4 billion above the President’s Request. This amount includes the $2.5 billion budget cap adjustment for fiscal year 2020. A decade of preparation culminates with the commencement of the 2020 Census on April 1, 2020. To make this reality, the Census Bureau has to build out a national field infrastructure by recruiting and hiring hundreds of thousands of enumerators and other temporary staff, print 1.5 billion pieces of mail, and ensure that all information technology infrastructure is ready. The amount provided in the bill, along with $1 billion provided in previous fiscal years that is expected to remain available in 2020, will keep the 2020 Census on track. The bill also calls for a Mobile Response Initiative to help enumerate hard to count communities.
NOAA Research and Grants. The bill rejects the administration’s request to cut funding for climate, weather, and oceans research by 41 percent, and instead funds the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) research at $572 million. Additionally, the bill again rejects the proposal to eliminate successful NOAA programs like Sea Grant, Coastal Zone Management (CZM) grants, the National Ocean and Coastal Security Fund, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). The Sea Grant program is funded at $75 million, $7 million above the fiscal year 2019 level, which yields $575 million in economic activity and supports 12,500 jobs and 1,300 American businesses. CZM grants are funded at $76.5 million, $1 million above the fiscal year 2019 level, and the National Ocean and Coastal Security Fund is funded at the fiscal year 2019 level of $30 million. Our coasts and Great Lakes contribute about $350 billion to the economy annually and these State-Federal partnerships support sustainable economic development and environmental restoration. The bill also provides a $19 million increase above the fiscal year 2019 level to implement the new Pacific Salmon Treaty.
Weather Satellites. This bill provides $755 million to continue construction of NOAA’s three new Polar Weather Satellites, equal to the fiscal year 2020 request. Polar satellites provide 85 percent of the data used to forecast the weather, and are a vital component of Americans’ personal, property, and economic security. One-third of U.S. GDP is affected by climate and weather, including farmers trying to protect livestock and crops, cities relying on energy from wind turbines and solar panels, and air travelers trying to get home safely and on time. Last year, the United States experienced 14 separate weather and climate disasters that cost more than $1 billion dollars each. These storms would have cost far more and posed even greater threats to human safety without sufficient warning. The bill also provides $304 million for NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) weather satellites, equal to the fiscal year 2020 request.
NOAA Ships. The bill provides $75 million for a portion of a third NOAA ocean survey vessel. NOAA currently has 15 ships in its aging fleet, with one vessel coming offline unexpectedly earlier this year. Further, that number will dwindle to 8 vessels by 2028. The Committee has recently funded two additional vessels, but to maintain its current oceanographic capacity, NOAA needs to build not two but eight additional vessels in the next several years, as construction takes eight to ten years per ship. These vessels enable NOAA to map the ocean floor, support weather forecasts, conduct oceanographic and climate research, and improve ecosystem and fisheries management. The bill also provides $60 million to improve NOAA’s existing vessels’ state of good repair.
Economic Development Administration. The bill again rejects the administration’s request to eliminate the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and instead provides $320 million for EDA, a $16 million increase above fiscal year 2019. This includes $120 million for Public Works grants, $37 million for Economic Adjustment Assistance grants, and $31 million for the Regional Innovation Program. The bill also provides $5 million for a new program to support communities dealing with the closure of a nuclear power plant. EDA awards infrastructure and planning grants to all 50 states. The fiscal year 2020 funding level will leverage an additional $4.5 billion in local and private investment and support nearly 21,000 American jobs.
Trade. The bill provides $521 million for the International Trade Administration (ITA), a $26 million increase above fiscal year 2019, including $15 million for export promotion and $3 million for trade enforcement. ITA helps support $104 billion in U.S. exports and attract $20 billion in foreign investment, assisting over 33,000 U.S. companies, 80 percent of which are small- and medium-sized businesses. The bill provides $128 million for the Bureau of Industry and Security, an increase of $10 million to implement increased trade enforcement responsibilities as a result of the passage of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 and the Export Control Reform Act of 2018. The bill also provides sufficient funding to continue executing the substantial number of exemption requests to the steel and aluminum tariffs. The U.S. International Trade Commission receives $99 million, an increase of $4.4 million above fiscal year 2019 to carry out the miscellaneous tariff bill-related responsibilities under the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. The bill provides a total of $1.04 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an increase of $53 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $351 million above the request. Funding for NIST measurement labs and research is $754 million, a 4 percent increase above the fiscal year 2019 level. The bill also rejects the administration’s proposal to terminate the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, instead funding the program at $145.5 million, a $5.5 million increase above fiscal year 2019, which is enough for an additional $100,000 per center. For every one dollar of federal investment, MEP generates $27.20 in new sales growth for manufacturers and $27.30 in new investment. This translates into $3.5 billion in new sales annually. Further, the bill provides $16 million for the National Network of Manufacturing Institutes (Manufacturing USA), including funding a new grant program to seed potential institutes. The bill also provides $123 million for NIST facilities budget, including $80 million to reduce the nearly $500 million state of good repair backlog.
NASA. This bill provides $22.75 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which is $1.25 billion above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $134 million above the President’s Request. NASA Science is funded at $6.9 billion which is the same as the fiscal year 2019 level and $512 million above the President’s Request. The bill continues funding for projects the request proposed to cancel – the Wide-Field InfraRed Survey Telescope ($445.7 million), Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, and Ocean Ecosystem ($161 million), Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory-Pathfinder ($18 million), and Carbon Monitoring System ($10 million). It fully supports the James Webb Space Telescope, and the Mars 2020 mission, and provides funds to begin planning a 2026 Mars sample return. The bill includes $1.9 billion for Earth Science and $735 million for Heliophysics.
Aeronautics is supported at $783.9 million, an increase of $59 million above the fiscal year 2019 level, to ensure continued U.S. leadership in aviation. Building on 30 years of NASA expertise in repairing satellites in space, the bill includes $180 million for the Restore-L satellite servicing mission. The proposal to cancel key NASA Education programs is rejected, and these programs continue to be funded in the bill – Space Grant ($47 million), the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Technology ($22 million), and the Minority University Research and Education Project ($33 million).
For human space flight, the bill supports funding to continue the International Space Station (ISS) and to launch American astronauts on American commercial vehicles to ISS during fiscal year 2020. About $1.3 billion in increases are provided toward the goal of returning humans to the Moon, including the full request for Orion, SLS, and lunar science. Within that total is included $300 million for the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS) that was not requested by the Administration.
National Science Foundation. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funded at $8.3 billion, $242 million or 3 percent above the fiscal year 2019 level. This funding includes $6.8 billion for NSF’s research and research facilities, an increase of $250 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and $1.1 billion more than the President’s request. NSF’s education and training programs to build tomorrow’s innovation workforce are funded at $937 million, an increase of $27 million above the fiscal year 2019 level. NSF’s funding level will support approximately 725 additional research and education grants and 9,300 more scientists, technicians, teachers, and students, compared fiscal year 2019.
Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The bill provides $425.5 million for LSC which is $10.5 million more than the fiscal year 2019 level, rejecting the Administration’s request to eliminate LSC. LSC is the largest funder of civil legal aid in the country, and its grantees served nearly 1.8 million people in 2018, helping them with family law, domestic violence, housing, fraud, and other legal problems.
Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). Funded at $3.6 million, a $100,000 or 2.8 percent increase above fiscal year 2019. The bill rejects the elimination of MMC, an independent government agency chartered under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide science-based oversight of actions affecting marine mammals.
Medical Marijuana. This bill again contains language preventing the Justice Department from interfering with states that have medical marijuana laws, ensuring that the prescribing and dispensing of medical marijuana in those states is both legal and regulated. Patients and doctors in states that have approved medical marijuana need to know that they are safe from arrest and prosecution by the federal government.
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