Washington, D.C. -- With Alaskan Congressman Don Young's support, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4660, the Fiscal Year 2015 Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill early this morning to provide $51.2 billion for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and other related agencies. H.R. 4660 decreases spending levels by $398 million from the last fiscal year, consistent with the House-passed FY15 budget, and passed by a vote of 321 to 87.
"The CJS Appropriations bill passed by the House today is a responsible step forward in fulfilling our duty to fund the federal government and uphold spending levels established by the House to combat our nation's growing debt," said Congressman Don Young. "This bill funds a number of programs of significant impact to Alaska, including programs to protect Alaskan waters and fisheries, combat domestic abuse and violence against women, and maintain law enforcement databases shared across the nation. This bill provides significant dollars for programs across the Department of Justice, Department of Commerce, NASA, and other agencies, in addition to protecting the rights of Americans."
H.R. 4660 provides $5.33 billion in funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an increase of $10.5 million from FY14. Congressman Young worked across party lines in his capacity as House Oceans Caucus Co-Chair to secure robust funding levels for Alaskan and national fisheries programs, including:
$790.2 million for the National Marine Fisheries Service
$65 million for the Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund
$25 million for Hydrographic Survey Contracts
Fisheries Research and Management:
$32 million for Regional Councils and Fisheries Commissions
$72 million to Expand Annual Stock Assessments--Improve Data Collection
$2.5 million for Interjurisdictional Fisheries Grants
$24 million for Survey and Monitoring Projects
$22 million for Fish Information Networks
$30 million for Salmon Management Activities
Ocean, Coastal and Great Lakes Research:
$6 million for Integrated Ocean Acidification
National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program:
$27 million for Tsunami warning networks
The Department of Justice would receive $28.1 billion in H.R. 4660, a $373.8 million increase from FY14, and $136.8 million more than the President's request. Notable items in the bill include:
State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance:
$376 million for the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, which is a primary provider of federal criminal justice grants for local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS):
$96.5 million for the COPS program, which primarily focuses on providing grants to local and state law police departments and sharing information.
Crime Victims Fund:
Caps the amount of funds that may be used for the Crime Victims Funds at $770 million, $25 million more than FY14, for the purpose of maintaining the Fund as a stable source for future victim services. The Crime Victims Fund assist victims with financial assistance for out of pocket expenses, and is financed entirely from fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders.
Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS):
$35 million for RISS, which connects local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement agencies databases for the purpose of sharing information and intelligence.
Office of Violence Against Women:
$495 million for Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs, which is $8.5 million above the President's request.
As a strong advocate of state' rights, Congressman Young cosponsored an amendment to H.R. 4660 that would prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent states from implementing their medical marijuana laws. The amendment was adopted across party lines by a vote of 219 to 189.
"This is an important vote that will allow us to show our constituents that we are serious when we, as Republicans, cite the importance of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution," Congressman Young wrote in a letter to his fellow Republican colleagues. " one does not need to believe in marijuana's medical efficacy to support our amendment. Rather, a belief in the right of a state to determine what activities ought to be criminal within its borders is sufficient. Likewise, a belief in the 10th Amendment and the principles of federalism established by our Founders ought to be reason enough to support our amendment."
Also included within H.R. 4660 are a number of provisions to protect the rights of everyday Americans, including protections of the 2nd Amendment and the unborn.