Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats Increase Funds for the Nation’s Law Enforcement Agencies

Senate Democrats joined local officials at a press conference today to discuss the importance of funding local law enforcement and policing initiatives.  The Senate will begin debating the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill this week, and will seek to support important programs to fight crime in our schools and communities after years of cuts by the Bush Administration.

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said at the press conference:

“With violent crime on the rise for the first time in 15 years, President Bush cut state and local law enforcement funding by almost $1.5 billion. The time to act is now. This bill provides $2.7 billion to give cops on the beat the tools they need to protect our communities from crime, gangs, drugs, domestic violence and crimes against children. The Democratic Congress will continue to stand up for families and neighborhoods by standing up against the President’s veto.”

According to Recent FBI Data Violent Crime Rose in 2006. According to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, violent crime rose by 1.9 percent last year. The new numbers confirmed that crime rates continued on a two-year upward trend after a relative lull in violence between 2002 and 2004. A five-year look at crime rates show that the number of murders, robberies, rapes and other violent offenses committed in 2006 is returning to the peak reached in 2002. Crime dropped dramatically after that, the FBI data show. In 2006, for example, an estimated 1,417,000 violent crimes were committed across the country. That was a sharp rise from the 1,360,000 crimes reported in 2004. [AP, 9/24/07; FBI Uniform Crime Report, 2006]

The law enforcement highlights of the Senate Commerce Justice Science Measure include:

Department of Justice

The Senate Commerce Justice and Science Appropriations Committee’s FY 2008 spending bill funds the Department of Justice at $24.3 billion, a $2.1 billion increase above the President’s budget request. This includes restored funding for state and local law enforcement at nearly $2.7 billion, filling a major gap after the President cut its budget in half. For the FBI, the bill provides $6.6 billion, which is $147 million above the President’s budget request. [CQ Senate Report 110-124 - To accompany S. 1745, June 29, 2007]

Highlights of Department of Justice Programs and Funding Levels:

  • Counterterrorism: According to the Senate Commerce Justice and Science Appropriations Committee, its recommendation fully supports the FBI’s lead role in securing domestic national security by safeguarding the United States against weapons of mass destruction, terrorist attacks, and internal espionage. Accordingly, the recommendation supports initiatives totaling $132 million above the fiscal year 2007 level to improve intelligence, including the addition of agents devoted to counterterrorism efforts. [CQ Senate Report 110-124 - To accompany S. 1745, June 29, 2007]
  • WMD Directorate: The Committee increased by $19 million above the fiscal year 2007 level to enhance the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, providing the FBI with significant resources to detect, identify, and track individuals that post threats to the United States. Further, the Committee fully supports the FBI in its efforts to save potentially millions of lives by improving its ability to dismantle dirty bombs through its Render Safe program. [CQ Senate Report 110-124 - To accompany S. 1745, June 29, 2007]
  • Crimes Against Children: The Committee recommended $313 million for Department of Justice efforts to prevent, investigate, and prosecute crimes against children. The recommendation fully supports the critical Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, and includes $8 million above the President’s budget request for new FBI agents dedicated to fighting Internet crimes against children. [CQ Senate Report 110-124 - To accompany S. 1745, June 29, 2007]

Drug Enforcement Agency

The bill provides $1.85 billion for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with an additional $52 million above the President’s budget request to lift a hiring freeze and to restore a program that provides DEA support to state and local law enforcement officials. [Office of Senator Barbara Mikulski, 6/28/07]

COPS Program

The bill provides $550 million for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program. The recommendation is $1,639,000 above the fiscal year 2007 enacted level and $517,692,000 above the President’s budget request. [CQ Senate Report 110-124 - To accompany S. 1745, June 29, 2007]

Edward Byrne Grants

The Committee recommended allocating $1.4 billion for Edward Byrne grants. The Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant Program is a partnership among federal, state, and local governments to create safer communities. The grants are award to states and units of local government to improve the functioning of the criminal justice system, with emphasis on violent crime and serious offenders. Grant money may be used to provide personnel, equipment, training, technical assistance, and information systems for more widespread apprehension, prosecution, adjudication, detention, and rehabilitation of offenders who violate such state and local laws. Grants also may be used to provide assistance (other than compensation) to victims of these offenders. [Bureau of Justice Assistance: Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant Program]

U.S. Marshall Service

The measure provides $905 million for the U.S. Marshals Service, with an additional $5 million above the President’s budget request to establish a Regional Fugitive Task Force to address the increased workload associated with implementation of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which Senator Mikulski co-sponsored. [Office of Senator Barbara Mikulski, 6/28/07]

ATF

The bill provides $1 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), with an additional $35 million above the President’s budget request for the National Center for Explosives Training and Research. [Office of Senator Barbara Mikulski, 6/28/07]

Crime Prevention and Victim Support

The measure provides $15.8 million investment in national programs targeted at crime prevention and victim support, including: $5 million for Big Brothers and Big Sisters for after-school mentoring programs; $5 million for the National Crime Victims Law Institute to provide services to victims of crime; and $4.3 million for the National Crime Prevention Campaign for education and prevention programs. [CQ Senate Report 110-124 - To accompany S. 1745, June 29, 2007]

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