Ranking Member Congressman Serrano Helps Secure Important Funding Increases in FY2018 CJS Omnibus Bill
Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee, released the following statement on the FY2018 omnibus bill released today. Serrano, who was instrumental in shaping the CJS portion of the legislation, successfully fought to increase funding for the U.S. Census Bureau, the elimination of a number of riders that would have undermined gun safety, and an increase in funding for programs to help combat the opioid crisis nationwide.
“As Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee, I’m proud of the significant increase in funding for a number of key Department of Justice, Department of Commerce and science-related programs we were able to negotiate and include in the final bill.
“Since the beginning of this Congress, I have made it a priority to fight for significant funding increases for the Bureau of the Census within the Department of Commerce. I’m proud that the bill includes a significant increase, to $2.8 billion, for the agency. This money will help the Census Bureau address several challenges in preparing for the 2020 Census, although as we saw yesterday, several political pitfalls remain. This is a huge victory for those of us who want to see an accurate and fair count in 2020. A number of programs within the Department of Commerce aimed at promoting economic development will also see a significant increase in funding: $10 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program over last year’s level; $25.5 million for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) above last year’s level; and the $5 million increase for the Minority Business Development Agency was maintained. These are all programs that President Trump proposed to eliminate in his fiscal year 2018 budget request.
“A program that I created to support the training and graduation of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students from underrepresented communities, the Educational Partnership Program (EPP), will also receive a $1.1 million increase within NOAA. To continue addressing climate change, we successfully fought off Republican efforts to reduce funding for climate research.
“Within the Department of Justice, a number of public safety and opioid treatment programs saw a significant increase in funding. The Comprehensive School Safety Initiative will have access to an additional $25 million in funding above last year’s level and $55 million above what the Trump Administration requested. The COPS Program, another key program for the safety of our neighborhoods, will receive $54 million in additional funding. This will help communities hire more officers and ensure community safety. The bill also includes an increase for efforts to improve the NICS background check system, and for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Several gun riders that would have made it easier from criminals to obtain weapons, and harder for law enforcement to track those weapons, were successfully removed from the House version of the bill. To help address the opioid crisis, a total of $300 million in additional funding will be distributed throughout a number of grant programs in the Department of Justice to help access treatment, improve law enforcement training, and other initiatives.
“With regards to science priorities, NASA’s budget was increased by $1.1 billion above last year’s level. Funding for National Science Foundation (NSF) research increased by $300 million and funding for the NSF Hispanic Serving Institutions Program increased to a total of $30 million. These increases will help maintain our nation’s leadership in the sciences, and encourage Hispanics to study and enter STEM professions. Lastly, two important civil rights agencies were awarded significant funding increases: the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), a program that Trump proposed to eliminate, will receive $25 million above last year (for a total of $410 million); and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will receive an increase of $15 million above last year’s level.”
“Overall, the CJS portion of the bill is funded at $59.6 billion, an increase of $5.7 billion above the House passed level.
Congressman José E. Serrano has represented The Bronx in Congress since 1990. He is a Senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.