The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 10, 2013

Ag, education cuts, energy boosted: Agency by agency guide to Obama's 2014 budget



The president is also seeking $726 million for the housing needs native American tribes.


Agency: Justice

Total Spending: $30.5 billion

Percentage Change from 2013: 13 percent decrease

Discretionary Spending: $16.3 billion

Mandatory Spending: $14.1 billion

Highlights: Amid the political battle in Washington over gun control, the FBI is proposing to double the capacity of the bureau's National Instant Criminal Background Check System. NICS is used by federally licensed firearms shops to determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives.

On other law enforcement fronts, the FBI is proposing an additional $215 million to support national security, cyber security and criminal investigations of financial fraud and mortgage fraud.

The Justice Department is proposing $166.3 million to alleviate prison overcrowding, using some of the money to begin activating facilities in West Virginia, Mississippi and Thomson, Ill. The Thomson facility being purchased from the state of Illinois was envisioned as a place to house terrorist suspects from Guantanamo Bay. The idea of bringing Gitmo detainees to Thomson stirred political controversy and the Obama administration abandoned it. The Bureau of Prisons has been a focus of growing concern at the department because of tight budgets.

Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder moved $150 million to the prison system from other Justice Department accounts to stave off daily furloughs of 3,570 federal prison staffers. The step was necessary because of the $1.6 billion in budget reductions at the department that took effect March 1. For the fiscal year beginning next Oct. 1, the department is proposing a $6.9 billion budget to run the nation's 122 federal prisons that hold 222,400 offenders.


Agency: Labor

Total Spending: $72.6 billion

Percentage Change from 2013: 33.4 percent decrease

Discretionary Spending: $12.1 billion

Mandatory Spending: $60.5 billion

Highlights: The bulk of proposed cuts at Labor would come from a decrease in mandatory spending on unemployment insurance as the economy improves and more jobless people reenter the work force. Spending on long-term unemployment benefits is also declining because Congress approved a measure last year reducing the current maximum of 99 weeks of unemployment benefits to 73 weeks.

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