House Commerce, Justice, Science Funding Bill Supports NJ Priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Fiscal Year 2019 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee today protects programs important to New Jersey communities.  The bill funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.

“As we see on the news nearly every day, our nation is facing increased threats here at home. Federal law enforcement is essential to fighting these threats, protecting our people, and making sure that those who do harm are brought to justice. This bill increases funding for law enforcement – making sure they have the resources they need to fight crime and terrorism,” Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) said. “In addition, the bill includes important investments to boost U.S. scientific innovation that will maintain our nation’s status as a global leader.” 

The bill supports many programs important to New Jersey: 

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Grants– the FY 2019 bill includes $493 million in funding for Violence Against Women Act programs which is $1 million above FY 2018 and an 8 million increase over the president’s budget request.

VAWA grants are critical to the state of NJ to support services and programs in response to domestic violence and sexual assault. VAWA grants provide annual support to organizations like the Jersey Battered Women Service which uses this funding to support the Morris Family Justice Center and transitional living programs.

Reduce Sexual Assault Kits Backlog Grants –the bill provides $48 (equal to FY 2018 funding   and $3 million increase over president’s budget) to promote progress in reducing the backlog of untested sexual assault kits.  These grants provide resources and improve processes to test kits, provide training to law enforcement personnel while providing justice and resolution to the victims of sexual assault.

Byrne Justice Assistance Grants(JAG) – the legislation includes $442 million for the Department of Justice’s Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, an increase of $26 million over FY 2018. The cornerstone of federal crime fighting programs, this funding will provided direct assistance to New Jersey police officers and the law enforcement community by supporting multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces, information sharing and technology, county jails, prosecutors, drug courts, and juvenile delinquency and drug treatment programs.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)– The legislation provides $12 million, an increase of $3 million over the President’s budget request ($12 million provided in FY 2018) for CASA which will support CASA programs across the country including CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, CASA for Children of Essex County, Passaic County CASA, and 12 other local CASA programs in New Jersey. These programs provided specially-trained and supervised advocates that devote sustained, long-term attention to the needs and rights of more than 3,800 child victims of abuse and neglect in New Jersey's 21 counties.  These child victims face significant trauma, multiple risk factors and, without effective intervention, long odds for success.

National Science Foundation (NSF)- The legislation funds NSF at $8.2 billion, an increase of $400 million over FY 2018.

In 2017 New Jersey received $139 million from the NSF to support research at universities and colleges including Montclair State University, William Patterson, Princeton, Rutgers, Stevens Institute of Technology, Rider, Rowan and the College of New Jersey. In addition funding from the NSF was provided to NJ small businesses in order to create jobs and help grow the economy.  Also included in this account is $123 million for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). Rutgers and Princeton are two of the 36 institutional members working on LSST, which is a multipurpose observatory.  More than 27 scientists and engineers in New Jersey are working on this project which will bring more than $7.5 million to the state.

Legal Services(LSC) - The bill funds LSC, which the Administration proposed eliminating, at $410 million (equal to FY 2018).  LSC funding allows Legal Services of New Jersey to provide representation to an additional 20,000 New Jersey clients

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) – Overall, the legislation provides $5.2 billion for NOAA, an increase over the President’s $4.8 billion budget request.  Among other important activities, the funding supports:

  • $37.5 million for Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), a significant increase over the $19 million requested by the President. This funding supports collection and dissemination of real-time data on the currents and dynamics of our oceans and Great Lakes which are used for a variety of essential services from Coast Guard search and rescue missions to severe weather forecasting. Rutgers is one of 11 Regional Associations of IOOS;
  • $68.5 million for the National Sea Grant College, which the Administration slated for elimination.  Funding supports the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium to address challenges facing our coastal communities and work with nearly 23,000 school children to make ocean science part of their education.  The funding also supports programs that filter storm- or wastewater along with publishing a technical manual which has resulted in the enhancement of a protective dunes system along the Jersey Shore;
  • $27 million for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS).  This program was eliminated in the President in his Budget Request. . The Jacques Cousteau Reserve, located in New Jersey and administered by Rutgers,   in One of  29 reserves around the country that receives support through NERRS protect the biologically, ecologically, economically, and aesthetically important areas along our coasts known as estuaries.
  • $875 million in funding for National Marine Fisheries Service, this funding helps ensure productive and sustainable New Jersey fisheries an economic engine in our state which employees 65,000 people and generates $2.5 billion in economic activity.
  • $124 million in lending authority for Fisheries Finance Program including $100 million for traditional Direct Loans.  Loans are available to businesses in New Jersey and elsewhere involved in fishing, aquaculture, or seafood processing for the purchase or improvement of facilities or equipment.

Manufacturing Extension Program- $140 million provided in the bill, equal to the FY 2018 enacted level. The Administration had proposed to eliminate the program.   Since 2000, New Jersey manufacturers have reported the following results as a result of engaging NJ MEP:

•           $2.29 billion in increased and retained sales;

•           31,215 in jobs created or retained;


The legislation includes $62.5 billion in total discretionary funding, an increase of $2.9 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level. The bill provides increases for federal law enforcement to crack down on illegal immigration, violent crime, gangs and opioid trafficking. The bill targets funding increases for national security – including countering cybercrime, terrorism and espionage. Funds are included to continue investments in space exploration, advance groundbreaking science, enhance school safety, and provide adequate resources for the upcoming decennial census.