The U.S. Senate has voted to restore $600 million in Justice Department funds to aid local law enforcement agencies and programs to combat juvenile crime. The vote occurred last Friday on an amendment by Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democrats Joseph Biden and Herb Kohl. It is an early indication that Congress will not go along with about $1 billion in cuts proposed by the Bush administration for aid to state and local anticrime programs.
Congress watchers pointed out that the vote on the 2005 federal budget is just the beginning of a long appropriations process. Later this year, lawmakers on appropriations panels in both Houses will decide on how much money actually will go to the Justice Department programs and other federal agencies.