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FY2011 Budget Commerce Justice Science GOP v Obama

Updated on February 24, 2011

FY2011 Budget

I have started to go through the budget and put together charts which compare the GOP and Obama budgets with the FY2010 budget. The first section I looked at in a previous post was on Agriculture. The next section of the budget comes from the Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee and includes parts of the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, and independent science agencies such as NASA and the NSF. The information comes from the House Appropriations committee1 which breaks the budget up by congressional committees. I am not following their groupings exactly in all cases. Also, I left out some of the smaller programs that are being terminated (under $20 million) and the two rescission programs in this section (because I don't really know what they are).

FY2010 budget levels

The graphs below show program funding levels for FY2010. The white bar represents 2010 budget level while the overlaid red bar represents the budget level requested by the GOP. The still visible white component therefore represents GOP proposed budget cuts. The graphs are to the same scale for comparison. Note however that the NASA funding bar has been cut because it was relatively so much greater than the other programs.


There are three additional graphs provided for each section. The first graph compares the Obama and GOP budgets to the FY2010 budget. The second graph shows the percentage difference between the GOP and the Obama budgets. The third graph shows the dollar difference between the GOP and Obama budgets.





This part of the budget seems a lot more contentious than the agriculture section was. The GOP budget request has some significant percentage cuts and there are greater percentage discrepancies between proposed budgets.

Commerce programs of note

Economic Development Administration (EDA)
The EDA provides grants and assistance to economically distressed areas of the country. The 27.3% cut requested by the GOP is a pretty deep cut. They have been in operation for 45 years. I expect the discrepancy in budgets to be halved.

This appears to be a significant cut but in reality is simply from releasing the temporary workers that had been hired to carry out the last census. Since the two budget proposals are so similar, I suspect the Democrats will let the Republicans have this one.

NIST Technology Innovation Program
This program "supports, promotes, and accelerates innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need" (from program website). Because Obama made innovation a main element of his future plan, I think this program will be a priority. I expect Obama's full request will be met.

NIST Scientific and Technical Research Services

Once again, I would expect Obama to get his requested funding, since he has made research a priority.

There are four separate construction programs in this section; The NIST, the U.S. Marshalls, the FBI, and the NSF. The total funds requested for these four projects is $517.8 million. The GOP budget would only provide $256.6 million, which is almost exactly half the requested funds.

Although the cuts are relatively small I think that there could be a good deal of fighting over these programs. The Republicans might be using this as a roundabout way to fulfill their theoretical agenda of shrinking government. The Democrats on the other hand will not only want to do the opposite, they might also want to move forward with these projects because construction means jobs.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The NOAA monitors and offers forecasting and predictions for the nation's marine, coastal and atmospheric resources. I would expect the Democrats to fight pretty hard for scientific and environmental organizations. The NOAA is a regulator so the Republicans might put up a good fight as well. The Republicans are asking for a 13.7% cut. I suspect the cut will end up at 5% or lower.

Justice programs of note

National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC)
"The mission of NDIC is to provide strategic drug-related intelligence, document and computer exploitation support, and training assistance to the drug control, public health, law enforcement, and intelligence communities of the United States in order to reduce the adverse effects of drug trafficking, drug abuse, and other drug-related criminal activity" (from agency website). Expect this discrepancy to be halved.

Justice Information Sharing Technology (JIST)
The money requested by Obama is the amount submitted by the agency, so it is difficult to tell the importance it has to him. I wouldn't be surprised to see the GOP cuts go through on this one.

Law Enforcement Wireless Communications (LEWC)
This program is intended to upgrade wireless communications for agents. From what I have read, it is considered to be one of the Department of Justice's top priorities. I don't expect the 34% cut requested by the GOP will go through, but there might be a 10% or less cut.

There are two programs which provide funds to state and local law enforcement efforts; the COPS program and the State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance program. There is something wrong with my COPS numbers. They just weren't adding up right and seem to be off by $200 million somewhere. The two programs combined in FY2010 had $2,363.8 million in funding. The GOP budget calls for at least 1,028.4 million in cuts to those two programs. I don't know what will happen with this one but would expect cuts to be far less than GOP requests. It is just too politically difficult to take cops off the street.

Science programs of note

These are both large and important scientific organizations that are a part of Obama's priorities. They also both have large budgets. At the very least I would expect them to split the difference between budget proposals but Obama may not be able to get the full funding he wanted.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC)
The LSC provides legal assistance to low-income people. I don't think there will be any cuts to this program.


My estimate for the Commerce, Justice and Science budget for FY2011. For what it's worth.


1. FY2011 Continuing Resolution Reductions. The U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations , n.d. Web. 22 Feb 2011. <>.


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