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House Republicans Aim to Slash Justice Department Funding

 |  June 26, 2024

House Republicans unveiled a contentious new appropriations bill on Tuesday that seeks to fund the departments of Commerce and Justice, as well as various science agencies, for fiscal year 2025, reported The Hill. 

The bill has become a focal point for conservative Republicans, who see it as an opportunity to target the Justice Department following former President Donald Trump’s conviction in his Manhattan hush money trial, along with his ongoing prosecutions. According to the Hill, the proposed legislation would strip nearly a billion dollars from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and halt the construction of a new FBI headquarters.

“This bill prioritizes fiscal sanity and the liberties of the American people,” stated House Appropriations Committee Chair Tom Cole (R-Okla.). “It halts the weaponization of the federal government against its citizens and enhances congressional oversight to ensure taxpayer dollars are used responsibly. Investments support our brave men and women in blue, combat crime, and stop the deadly scourge of illicit drugs from reaching our communities. The legislation also safeguards U.S. innovation by confronting China’s efforts to target every aspect of American enterprise.”

In contrast, Attorney General Merrick Garland condemned the bill, calling it a drastic cut to essential Justice Department funding that is vital for community safety. “This effort to defund the Justice Department and its essential law enforcement functions will make our fight against violent crime all the more difficult. It is unacceptable,” Garland declared during a speech in Cleveland, Ohio.

The likelihood of the measure becoming law is slim, with significant opposition expected from Senate Democrats and the White House, who are poised to reject the funding cuts and policy changes embedded in the legislation. Nevertheless, House GOP leaders view the bill as a strategic move to strengthen their position in upcoming negotiations with the Democratic-controlled Senate.

According to Republicans on the Appropriations Committee, the commerce, justice, and science appropriations bill proposes $78.29 billion in discretionary spending, reflecting a roughly 2 percent cut — $1.28 billion — from fiscal 2024 levels. The allocation includes $71.93 billion in non-defense discretionary spending and $6.36 billion in defense discretionary spending.

As the bill advances, it is expected to be a significant point of contention, highlighting the deep divisions between the Republican-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House over budget priorities and the future direction of federal law enforcement funding.

Source: The Hill