Terror Tops Police In Justice Budget Priorities


The U.S. Justice Department’s $26.7 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year includes $2.6 billion for state and local assistance. Of that money, $298 million would go to local police hiring and $114 million for prisoner re-entry into society. President Obama’s first detailed budget was notable for restoring state and local aid that the Bush administration had cut. Even so, the state and local total was well under the $4.6 billion in the Justice budget before Sept. 11, 2001, an indication of the lasting impact of federal antiterrorism priorities.

The first item on Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement of priorities to Senate appropriators yesterday was terrorism and national security, noting that the FBI would get a 6.6 percent budget increase. The Justice Department as a whole would get a 3.8 percent increase in budget authority. Putting 50,000 more police officers on the street was listed second. About 7,000 of these would be added in the next fiscal year, from the department’s regular budget and the recently enacted stimulus law. The Public Safety Officers’ Death Benefits Program would be cut from $110 million to $60 million. Holder’s other priorities, in this order, were combating financial fraud, reinvigorating civil-rights enforcement, strengthening immigration enforcement and border security, supporting federal detention and incarceration, and expanding prisoner re-entry programs.

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