Washington, D.C. (January 17, 2014) - Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) today said the 2014 Omnibus bill approved in both the House and Senate this week will help create jobs and increase manufacturing in the U.S., funds vital national security programs through the FBI, and invests in science and technology to boost American competitiveness.
Wolf, chairman of the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee, said the portion of the bill he oversees totals $51.6 billion, which is $1.4 billion below the enacted fiscal year 2013 level. Since Republicans assumed the majority in the House, they have reduced spending by more than $12 billion for agencies funded in the CJS appropriations bill.
"The bill continues my effort to rein in federal spending while continuing to preserve core priorities such as job creation, boosting U.S. competitiveness through smart investments in science and space exploration, fighting crime, gangs and terrorism, and bolstering cybersecurity," Wolf said. "All things considered, it is remarkable that the Appropriations Committee has been able to make these types of cuts while still producing a bill with strong bipartisan support. I think the targeted and responsible reductions the Appropriations Committee has achieved should be a model for how mandatory spending cuts should be made by the Budget, Energy and Commerce, and Ways & Means committees in the years ahead."
Wolf said the bill makes job creation a top priority by maintaining manufacturing and job repatriation initiatives, while focusing resources and oversight on programs that will strengthen American competitiveness in the global economy, such as advancements in the sciences and STEM education.
The measure includes a significant focus on expanding the FBI's cybersecurity efforts and on protecting U.S. networks from foreign espionage and cyber attacks, Wolf said.
Important language to combat the growing threat of human trafficking of minors through websites like Backpage.com, which is a growing domestic problem, also is in the bill, according to Wolf.
The Omnibus contains all regular appropriations bills for fiscal year 2014, with no area of the government functioning under a Continuing Resolution, as in years past. It adheres to all the provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, also known as the Ryan-Murray Agreement, and provides a total of $1.012 trillion to fund the federal government and avoids a government shutdown.
To read Wolf's opening statement from today's press conference, click here.
Other highlights of the bill include:
Job Creation Initiatives
* Repatriation grants and loans. The bill includes $5 million to continue efforts to support state and local incentives to U.S. companies that bring jobs back to America and to companies that develop innovative technologies in the U.S. The bill also continues a requirement to establish a task force on job repatriation and direst the Commerce Department to hold a national summit on repatriation.
* Increasing exports. The bill identifies increasing U.S. exports as critical to expanding economic growth and job creation, and prioritizes resources for export promotion and trade enforcement activities.
* ACE Tool. The bill continues funding for the "Access Costs Everywhere" Tool developed by the Department of Commerce to analyze and report on opportunities for companies to operate in the U.S.
* Rebuilding American manufacturing. The bill includes $128 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, which helps U.S. businesses streamline manufacturing techniques and increase efficiency and profits.
* Manufacturing Research. The bill includes $160 million in grants for the National Science Foundation's advanced manufacturing research initiative, which is aimed at improving productivity and creating new manufacturing sectors that will produce new technologies and products.
* Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The bill includes $8.3 billion for the FBI, $232 million above fiscal year 2013 levels, with priority given to counterterrorism activities, programs that combat cyber threats, meeting new demand for National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NICS), and agent hiring.
* Domestic Radicalization. The bill notes that the FBI established a new Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Office within the National Security Branch, and directs the FBI to provide a briefing on how the CVE Office is enhancing the mission of the FBI and federal partners, and how it supports state and local officials and leaders to include sharing information and providing operational mission support. The bill also includes $4 million to research domestic radicalization.
* Prohibiting cooperation with CAIR. The bill reaffirms the FBI's longstanding policy prohibiting employees from engaging in any formal non-investigative cooperation with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism financing court case, and urges the U.S. Attorney General to adopt a similar policy for all Justice Department officials.
* FBI reforms. The bill includes funding for a comprehensive external review of the FBI's implementation of FBI-related recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, including a review of progress made since 9/11 in transforming the FBI to address the threat of terrorism, including a review of how the 9/11 Commission recommendations have been implemented and the efficacy of these reforms; all information relevant to the 9/11 attacks and al Qaeda, especially new information obtained since the release of the 9/11 Commission's report in 2004, to ensure that the full story of 9/11 is understood and commission's final report reflects the government's most complete understanding and analysis of the 9/11 plot; and the evolving threat of terrorism to the U.S. and our interest abroad, with a particular focus on the threat of domestic radicalization, cyber terrorism and the spread of al Qaeda affiliate groups abroad.
* Fort Hood. The report directs the Department of Justice to specify its role in how the Fort Hood terrorist attack was designated and what its policies are in terms of categorizing cases. The Obama Administration inexplicably categorized the attack as "workplace violence" instead of terrorism, despite the clear terror links.
* Preventing cyber espionage. The bill requires the departments of Commerce and Justice, NASA and NSF to assess the risk of cyber espionage or sabotage before acquiring any information technology system, including equipment from companies owned, directed or subsidized by China. In addition, these departments or agencies must make a determination that to acquire such a system is in the national interest and provide regular reports to the Congress.
* FBI cybersecurity initiative. The bill provides an increase in funds for the Next Generation Cyber initiative; intelligence and technology improvements to prevent and combat malicious cyber intrusions. The measure also recommends that FBI develop a national network of cyber task forces, based upon the Joint Terrorism Task Force model, to leverage the participation of state, local and international partners.
* National Cyber Threat Assessment. The bill directs the FBI to continue to produce an annual national cyber threat assessment - both classified and unclassified - that identifies and ranks the foreign governments posing the greatest threats to the U.S.
Investments in the Sciences
* National Science Foundation (NSF). The bill provides NSF with $7.2 billion to fund core research and education activities that are critical to innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for an advanced manufacturing initiative.
* NASA. The bill provides $17.6 billion to fund NASA, an increase of $120 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. Within this, $4.1 billion will be for exploration, including funding to keep NASA on schedule for the Orion exploration spacecraft and exploration super heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System, milestones.
* National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The bill provides NIST with $850 million to fund important core research activities to help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth, an increase in $41 million above fiscal year 2013 enacted levels.
* STEM Education. The bill directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to continue developing a comprehensive dissemination strategy for K-12 STEM education research findings to achieve the goals of a "one-stop" Web site for students, parents and teachers to access federally-produced STEM resources.
* Ocean exploration and research. The bill provides $26 million to support ocean exploration and research projects and educational programs, an increase of $1 million above fiscal year 2013 enacted levels.
* National Weather Service. The bill includes $1.06 billion to ensure the continuation of important weather data collection and forecasting abilities for potentially devastating natural disasters. It also includes requested funding for the JPSS and GOES-R weather satellite programs to improve the accuracy of forecasts and warnings.
Preventing Gun Violence
* Provides $58.5 million to help states provide better data, including mental health records, to the National Instant Background Check System (NICS). This includes funding for the grant purposes authorized in the NICS Improvement Act approved by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush following the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007.
* Includes $75 million in funding for a Comprehensive School Safety Initiative to develop strategies and technologies to increase school safety and provide pilot grants to test innovative approaches to enhance school safety. It also includes $2 million for the Campus Safety Center first created in last year's bill.
* Directs the Department of Justice to produce an updated National Gang Threat Assessment, including a presentation of anti-gang initiatives, their performance to date, and plans for continued cooperation with State and local law enforcement to combat gang activity.
* Contains $1.18 billion for the ATF, $47 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. It also includes a prohibition on funding to transfer firearms to known members of drug cartels, such as those transfers that occurred under the "Fast and Furious" program.
* Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections. The bill provides $1 million to create a bipartisan task force aimed at reforming our nation's prison system. The group will be named after the late Chuck Colson, who went from counsel to the president to federal prisoner because of his involvement in the Watergate scandal. Colson later founded Prison Fellowship to support and minister to prisoners and their families in the United States and around the world. As part of its work, the task force will examine: overcrowding in BOP facilities and options to avert continued growth in the system population; measures to address overcrowding within facilities; violence in the system, including gang violence, and improved public safety measures; prison rehabilitation and employment programs; and reentry programs and policies to reduce recidivism. It also will undertake a comprehensive analysis of relevant criminal justice data; identify factors driving the growth in prison populations; study ''lessons learned'' from successful state-level justice reinvestment initiatives; and evaluate current and potential criminal justice policies, including the cost-effectiveness of spending on corrections.
* Language to combat sex trafficking, including a provision directing the Justice Department to aggressively target Web sites that enable trafficking, particularly of minors. It also continues a requirement that all U.S. Attorneys participate in an anti-trafficking task force and directs the FBI to increase its reporting on trafficking cases. The bill also includes $14.25 million for grants to help victims of human trafficking.
* The bill includes $417 million for Violence Against Women programs.
* The bill continues to prohibit the transfer or release of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.
* Funds the Patent and Trademark Office at $3 billion and includes a provision allowing the PTO to use any fees in excess of the estimated collected amount, subject to congressional approval. This is an increase of $91 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.
* Encourages NIST to continue its work to developing initiatives to accurately assess the presence of acute and chronic Lyme disease.
* Included in the DOJ funding are provisions to combat violent gangs, conduct an independent review of the Civil Rights Division, issue reports on human trafficking and human rights abuses, conduct a review of improper hiring practices and nepotism within the Justice Management Division and ramp up efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and drug-related crimes in the Caribbean.
* The bill includes $88.5 million for youth mentoring grants and $67 million for missing and exploited children programs.
* Directs departments and agencies receiving funding though the bill to purchase promotional material like T-shirts and hats from U.S. companies when practicable.
For more on Wolf's work on this issue, go to: http://wolf.house.gov/cjs#.UtlgmrROlpg.
For more information about the Omnibus, go to: http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=366950.
Read this original document at: http://wolf.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/wolf-highlights-cjs-provisions-in-2014-omnibus-bill#.UtnadNLxLMo