Remarks as Delivered
Good afternoon, everybody. I will kick us off with some remarks about the department’s 2023 budget request. It’s great to be with everyone to discuss the FY 2023 budget request and how the proposed budget will benefit both the Department of Justice and the American people.
Over the many years I’ve spent at the department, our mission to uphold the rule of law and protect the American people has remained constant, even as the threats we face have continued to evolve. Today, it has never been more important that we have the resources we need to address violent crime, protect our nation against cyber threats and combat foreign and domestic terrorism. Equally important is continuing our work – which the Attorney General has described as being in the DNA of the department – to protect the civil rights of all Americans.
The President’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request for the Department of Justice provides critical investments in these priorities by requesting more than $37 billion for the Department of Justice. This request and these investments are even more important because the recently enacted
Omnibus legislation did not contain critical enhancements to support many of these priorities.
Now, the women and men of the Justice Department will of course continue to do all they can with the resources provided to them, but to do their jobs, they need the resources that the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request provides. It renews our requests for the unfunded portions of the FY22 budget and provides much needed investments to keep our community safe by, among other things, funding more cops on the beat in our communities, fighting gun violence and investing in crime prevention and community violence intervention.
The FY23 budget request almost $37.7 billion for the Department of Justice. It represents a comprehensive reinvestment in our core mission and illustrates our commitment to upholding the rule of law, keeping our country safe and protecting the civil rights of all Americans.
The President’s budget requests a total of more than $20 billion for the department’s law enforcement components and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, to keep our country safe from a wide range of complex and evolving threats.
Now, some of the key resource requests include funding for the department’s ambitious strategy for combating increases in violent crime and gun violence. The 2023 budget includes almost $11.2 billion to tackle violent crime, a figure that includes more than $1 billion in new investments in reducing gun violence and violent crime, sustained investments of $3 billion in grant programs that help communities address violent crime. The President’s budget also requests $30 billion in mandatory resources over the next five to 10 years, which is an unprecedented commitment by this administration to support COPS hiring. For more cops on the beat to keep communities safe, as well as a new Gun Crime Prevention Strategic Fund, along with the new Accelerating Criminal Justice Reform Grants Program.
Now the department is, as always, focused on protecting our nation’s security and defending against foreign and domestic terrorism, and this budget includes $7.3 billion for national security programs, including more than $140 million in program increases to strengthen the department’s response to terrorism, espionage and the proliferation and potential use of weapons of mass destruction.
On the cyber front, the threats we face from adversaries have never posed a higher risk than they do today. The Department of Justice and the FBI are critical players in combating cyber threats, protecting victims, and holding cyber threat actors accountable, as we have shown with a number of unprecedented enforcement actions over the past year. In light of this threat environment and geopolitical realities, investing in cybersecurity has never been more important. We undertook a comprehensive review of the department’s cyber capabilities and strategies, and this budget provides the department with over $1.2 billion, including nearly $150 million in cyber program enhancements to protect the department systems from cyber threats, identify the perpetrators of cybercrimes and ultimately to help bring those perpetrators to justice.
In addition to our work to keep the country safe, the department seeks to invest significantly in our work to protect civil rights. This budget devotes more than $782 million to this work, more than twice the proposal in last year’s budget. If this budget, with its mandatory grant proposals, is adopted, the department would devote $3.5 billion to civil rights – an unprecedented level of support for this work.
This request includes funding for the newly re-established Office for Access to Justice, as well as increases in funding for the Civil Rights Division, the Environment and Natural Resources Division, the Office of Justice Programs and the Office on Violence Against Women. And, it includes new resources to expand legal access programs consistent with our commitment to a fair and efficient immigration system.
The Attorney General and I applaud the recent reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and this budget invests $1 billion in the Office on Violence Against Women.
This budget also invests $578 million to reform and strengthen the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
It invests over $200 million to promote fair and impartial court and correctional systems, in addition to $150 million in base resources for the Bureau of Prisons that can go toward funding 1,300 positions. Now, that includes nearly 600 First Step Act positions.
This budget also invests $106 million for a new initiative that I announced last year to expand the use of body worn cameras, not only among our state and local law enforcement and task force partners, but also among federal agents for the first time.
This budget invests over $40 million in enhancements and $400 million in grant funding to expand the department’s ongoing efforts to stem the flow of deadly drugs into America.
The budget also invests $66 million for increased antitrust enforcement, and it includes funding for new programs to expand the department’s work addressing elder justice, crimes against children and gender-based violence and discrimination.
Attorney General Garland and I are committed to ensuring that the Department of Justice upholds its mission of ensuring equal justice under law and protecting the American people. This budget is a critical step, and we are eager to work with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to secure its timely passage.
So with that, I am happy to take a few questions aided by, of course, Jolene Lauria, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, who will walk you through more details of the budget.