Looming automatic federal budget cuts totalling $1 trillion under a “sequestration” plan couild mean $1.6 billion in cuts at the Justice Department. The National Law Journal quoted a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to Senate Appropriations Committee chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md) as saying the department would lose more than 1,000 federal agents to combat violent crime, pursue financial crimes, and help ensure national security, as well as 1,300 correctional officers in federal prisons.
The $100 million that would be cut from U.S. attorney budgets means 2,600 fewer cases than last fiscal year, 1,600 fewer civil cases and 1,000 fewer criminal cases would be pursued, Holder said. President Obama, asking Congress to delay the cuts past March 1, yesterday cited the possibility of reduced hours for border patrol agents and furloughs at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Federal prosecutors “will have to close cases and let criminals go,” Obama said.