Good morning Chairman Hatch, Senator Leahy, and members of the Judiciary Committee. It is a pleasure to appear before you today to discuss our crime fighting strategy in the context of the President's Fiscal Year 2000 budget request for the Department of Justice. I appreciate this opportunity to review our plan for building upon the strong foundation that the bipartisan support of this committee has helped established for effectively combating crime and violence nationwide.
For Fiscal Year 2000, the President's budget includes $21 billion for the Department of Justice -- a $317 million increase over last year -- to continue fighting crime, combating cyber-terrorism, curbing drug abuse, and incarcerating felons.
Since I became Attorney General in 1993, funding for the Justice Department has increased more than 88 percent, and funding for state and local law enforcement has risen by a whopping 294 percent. With these increased resources, we have seen a steady fall in crime. The nation's violent crime rate has dropped more than 20 percent over the last six years, and our murder rate has fallen to its lowest level in three decades. Our investment is paying off. With your help and support, I believe this positive trend can and will continue into the next century. And I believe our budget blueprint for FY 2000 will keep us on the path for continued success.
For too many years, as a prosecutor in Miami, I saw how gangs, drug trafficking, and violent crime ravaged our neighborhoods. When I came to Washington, I knew that the only way that federal, state and local law enforcement could improve public safety and make a real difference in our communities would be to dramatically change what had become business as usual in the criminal justice system.
And, with the support of the Senate Judiciary Committee and aided by the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, we have done that -- changing basic law enforcement practices, uniting federal, state and local crime control efforts, directing new resources for crime control into effective local efforts, and working hand in hand with local communities to prevent crime and reduce recidivism. We have been implementing what we know works in a coordinated and comprehensive manner nationwide. These concepts, embodied in the 1994 Act and supported by a bipartisan special six-year federal funding commitment, have changed business as usual.
Ten years ago -- with violence associated with drug use on the rise -- few would have believed that crime rates could be reduced. Ten years ago, there was no strong, effective federal, state and local partnership or comprehensive strategy to combat crime in our local communities.
Much has changed. Now, six years into the implementation of our comprehensive community-based strategy, crime has dropped to its lowest level in a quarter of a century. Murders alone have fallen by more than ten percent in larger cities and suburban counties. And, after increasing steadily in the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, juvenile crime arrest rates are down for the third year in a row -- a total decline of 23 percent.
While much remains to be accomplished, we can be proud that, working together, we have been reinvigorating anti-crime efforts and catalyzing change nationwide by making significant new resources and tools available for local law enforcement assistance. From new police officers to prison construction, we have provided increased resources to help fight crime in communities across America. We are working with local law enforcement to break up gangs, dismantle drug trafficking organizations, and target violent offenders.
Clearly, our investment over the past six years has paid off and will continue to accrue benefits. But the key to this success, and the key to our future progress is not just more funding or more police, prosecutors, and prisons, or tougher laws on the books. Over the past six years, we have been attacking the crime problem with a new strategy, a new theory rooted in active and involved communities. People used to think that we should leave the problem of crime to law enforcement. We now know that law enforcement, armed with all the resources in the world, can only succeed with the local community's support. In the past six years, our efforts have encouraged communities across this country to rally behind law enforcement as never before to produce the gains that we have seen in the battle with crime.
We have invested heavily in this systematic and comprehensive approach to attacking crime for six years since the enactment of the 1994 Crime Act. Prior to that legislation, I believe that much of our federal intervention was an immediate response to a crisis situation as opposed to a long term strategy. In 1994, when the Crime Bill was enacted, its focus was on building partnerships with our state and local counterparts. Those partnerships were the catalyst for institutional changes at the local level while respecting the independence of state and local law enforcement.
Our Fiscal Year 2000 budget request of $21 billion for the Department of Justice includes a $317 million increase over last year. This increase will allow us to provide a more highly focused approach to fighting crime at the state and local level, to combat cybercrime and terrorism, to curb drug abuse, to enforce our immigration laws, to improve federal law enforcement efforts in Indian country, and to accommodate the rise in our federal prison population. It is consistent with the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. It proposes to utilize the full amount authorized in the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund for crime programs and to adjust to the tapering off of funding envisioned at its inception. It seeks to cement recent gains while allowing us to focus limited resources on key federal responsibilities. By sharpening our focus on federal responsibilities, we assure that we can preserve and extend the gains we have realized into the challenges of the next century. This budget allows us to maintain the appropriate balance of federal, state and local responsibilities and to target resources where more progress is needed.
We need a full arsenal of innovative strategies and programs -- from high tech solutions to community-based prevention programs -- to reduce crime even further. We know that there is no single solution to the crime problem. Our approach must be comprehensive and multi-faceted, combining and interconnecting enforcement, punishment, prevention, and community involvement at the local level. To build on our progress and to fulfill our federal leadership role to help communities across America, our budget proposes to support programs that foster the development of technological capabilities and combine enforcement, prosecution, punishment, prevention, and community involvement at the local level.
Specifically, the budget seeks nearly $1.3 billion for a 21s' Century Policing Initiative to help communities like those in Utah and Vermont, among others, build upon their efforts under the successful COPS program. Of this amount, $600 million has been targeted to allow the continued hiring of new police officers -- particularly in high crime areas -- to address retention in the neediest communities, and to redeploy those who are already employed. Another $350 million will establish a Crime Fighting Technology grant program to address the wide array of telecommunications and forensic science needs of state and local law enforcement -- a particularly great need among the lower budget, smaller and rural communities. The initiative also provides $200 million for a Community Prosecution grant program to help restore citizen confidence and involvement in the justice system by helping communities hire, redeploy and train badly needed prosecutors who are stationed in, and work within, the neighborhoods they serve.
Time and time again, I am told by line officers throughout this country that effective law enforcement relies heavily on community involvement with strong prevention at its core. To assist neighborhoods and communities in their efforts to develop and implement comprehensive crime prevention and reduction strategies, another $125 million is included for a Community Crime Prevention Program. Building on existing programs, such as Weed and Seed, this new initiative will fill critical gaps in support for local public safety efforts that current Department funding -- both formula and discretionary -- cannot fill. The program will also support direct funding for crime and delinquency prevention programs that utilize promising approaches in preventing and reducing crime and delinquency, and in strengthening partnerships between community groups, schools and criminal justice and juvenile justice agencies in their efforts to fight crime and delinquency.
And, as you are well aware, an essential building block for community safety is peaceful relations. The budget before you includes an increase of $2.13 million for the Community Relations Service (CARS) to improve the delivery of conciliation services to communities threatened with racial unrest and violence.
To help communities keep the crime rate down, and reduce it to even further historic lows, we MUST address the issue of gun violence. Every year, approximately 14,000 Americans are murdered with a gun.
While gun violence may not be a uniquely American problem, it is certainly one in which we stand out. To bring this issue into sharper focus, I want to share with you a statistic that I find truly stunning: From 1992 through 1996, Toronto, Canada experienced exactly 100 gun homicides. In contrast, Chicago, an American city of comparable size, had 3,063 gun homicides during that same time period. Clearly, reducing gun-related injuries and deaths should be a national priority and a central part of any strategy to reduce crime.
The Department's gun strategy involves three important components: prevention, interdiction and enforcement. To complement the additional state and local prosecutors requested in our FY 2000 budget, and the additional Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agents included in Treasury's FY 2000 request, we are seeking $5 million to conduct intensive firearms prosecution projects under the leadership of U.S. Attorneys Offices.
Building on the success achieved in reducing violent crime in Boston, Massachusetts and Richmond, Virginia, these funds will be used to hire and dispatch more than 40 federal attorneys to select cities across the country to prosecute criminals who possess guns. Once there, these prosecutors will team up with their local counterparts to develop comprehensive strategies for the prosecution, prevention, and disruption of gun violence in their communities. They will work together to identify those crimes that should more appropriately be brought in federal court. Violent felons, armed drug traffickers, and firearms' offenders will all get the message: Carry a gun and you'll do more jail time.
Another $49 million is requested for three Offices of Justice (OJP) grant initiatives which address the problem of youth and guns. Within this amount, $4 million is requested for the National Institute of Justice to support a new Childproof Gun and Gun Detection Technology Program to expand development, testing, and replication of "smart gun" technologies. Once fully developed and tested, these new "smart gun" technologies will allow law enforcement officers' weapons to be more safely and reliably secured and will help prevent accidental deaths to children who have access to firearms.
Also included is $10 million, earmarked within the At Risk Children's Program, for the Prevention and Reduction of Youth Gun Violence. This program, currently being implemented and evaluated in four cities, seeks to reduce juveniles' illegal access to guns and address the reasons they carry and use guns in violent exchanges. Communities participating in the program are required to implement seven program strategies which together represent a comprehensive approach to addressing the prevention, intervention, and suppression of youth gun violence. These new resources will enable the Department to expand this grant program in FY 2000 to 20-25 new communities.
Our third piece addressing the problem of youths and guns is a $3S million request in grants for states and units of local governments to develop alternative methods of punishment for young offenders instead of traditional forms of incarceration and probation.
National Instant Check System (NICS):
What you will not find in this budget is money to operate the Brady Law's National Instant Check System (NICS) -- a critical component of our gun strategy that went into effect on November 30, 1998. In its first 12 weeks of operation, the NICS processed checks for more than two million gun transfers. Of these checks, the states that have agreed to serve as partners with the FBI in conducting background checks -- we call them "Points of Contact"' or "POCs", processed 990,364. While we do not yet have solid numbers for denials that the state POCs made, we do know that the FBI checks resulted in 22,290 denials of gun transfers. This means that more than 22,000 persons who should not have guns did not get them as a direct result of the National Instant Check System (NICS). Clearly, the effective operation of the NICS is a very important priority and essential to our efforts to reduce gun violence.
Funding for the National Instant Check System (NICS) does not appear in the FY 2000 budget request because we are proposing that the operational costs of the NICS be funded through a user fee to be paid by gun purchasers. As you know, Section 621 of the FY 1999 Department of Justice Appropriations Act prohibited the Federal Government from charging a fee. Understandably, many states have found it politically difficult to continue imposing a state user fee for background checks when the Federal Government performs the checks free of charge. This prohibition has had the effect of discouraging states from serving as points of contact for NICS checks, and has pushed more workload to the federal level.
A federal user fee, therefore, makes sense from both a public safety and an appropriations' viewpoint. Background checks by POC states are generally more thorough because criminal justice records at the state level tend to be more complete and readily available. And, from an appropriations point of view, the costs to the Federal Government rise as states discontinue their participation as POCs.
Our growing dependence on cyber networks makes us vulnerable to the destruction of or intrusion into those networks. We must be prepared to fight this new cyber threat with new tools.
Last year, we were able to establish the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) to deter, detect, analyze, investigate and provide warnings of cyber threats and attacks on critical infrastructure. Since computers are essential in our day-to-day lives, they play a large role in the crime that is perpetrated -- not only cyber terrorism, but also other types of illegal intrusions, including fraud schemes and the dissemination of child pornography.
In order to improve our ability to deal effectively with computer crimes, we MUST raise the general level of computer competence among agents, prosecutors, and investigators -_ aggressively training our current staff to have the requisite expertise for these types of investigations and hiring computer experts, where necessary. Our FY 2000 budget request includes funding for these vital efforts.
Specifically, the FY 2000 budget request for the Department of Justice includes $122.6 million in counterterrorism/cybercrime program increases. For the FBI, we are seeking $45.7 million to add 60 agents and support staff to create 12 additional cybersquads to identify, investigate, and prevent threats and unlawful acts targeting the critical infrastructure of the United States, including illegal intrusions into government computer networks, protected civilian computers, and the national information infrastructure. We are also seeking 79 computer forensic analysts for the FBI's field offices and Headquarters.
For the U.S. Attorneys, we are seeking $7.3 million and 87 positions to develop a global response to cyber attacks and to help prosecute the increased number of cases involving computer and high-tech crimes. Increasingly, attorneys are confronted with cases involving sophisticated computer use by terrorists and other criminals. More prosecutors with an understanding of computer technology are critically needed. Nearly $2 million is included for nine additional Criminal Division attorneys to help resolve unique issues raised by emerging computer and telecommunications technologies, litigate cases, provide litigation support to other prosecutors, train federal law enforcement personnel, and coordinate international efforts to combat computer crime.
The Department's FY 2000 request also includes $27 million for the Counterterrorism Fund to reimburse federal departments and agencies for costs incurred in support of countering, investigating, or prosecuting domestic and/or international terrorism. And, another $38.5 million is included to expand the Office of Justice Program's domestic preparedness efforts by supporting the new domestic preparedness training center in Alabama, and by purchasing additional equipment to protect first responders and detect chemical or biological weapons. This increase is in addition to the $135 million in funding provided in FY 1999, bringing the total funding available for First Responder Domestic Preparedness grants to state and local governments to $173.5 million in FY 2000.
Our budget request seeks to step up our efforts to control the flow of illegal drugs and cut down on demand, with an increase of 2.5 percent over FY 1999, including growth in direct federal, state and local assistance. With these increased funds, the Department of Justice will have a budget of nearly $8 billion to fight drugs next year. This funding level will enable us to better coordinate investigations and hire additional criminal attorneys to prosecute complex, international drug trafficking cases. And, on the drug prevention side, the funds will be used to expand the drug court program; implement proven programs that help prevent our young people from turning to or continuing to use drugs; and step up our efforts to drug-test and mandate inmate treatment so they don't return to using drugs as soon as they are released from prison.
Drug Law Enforcement:
Specifically, resources for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will grow to $1.469 billion, including $22 million in program enhancements. Within this amount $9 million is targeted to augment the Special Operations Division - which supports major federal drug enforcement strategies, including the Southwest Border, the Caribbean Corridor Strategy, and the Methamphetamine Strategy; and $13 million will be used to accelerate Phase II of its FIREBIRD office automation project. FIREBIRD provides access to DEA's investigative databases, containing intelligence information on alleged criminal activity which enhances DEA's ability to more efficiently and effectively conduct complex drug investigations.
In the same way that drug traffickers use sophisticated technology to manage their drug empires, drug law enforcement must have the tools to expand its capabilities and keep pace with an ever-changing world. In addition, the FY 2000 request includes $1.13 million for the Criminal Division (CRM) for its support of DEA's Special Operations Division. These monies will enable CRM to increase efforts devoted to prosecuting the complex cases that result from these drug investigations and support the processing of Title III wiretaps. Because the war on drugs and international crime as a whole have expanded beyond the borders of the United States, the Division's request includes two attorneys to be placed overseas, in Asia and the Middle East.
Zero Tolerance Drug Supervision Initiative:
A $112 million increase is provided to fund a $215 million initiative to promote drug testing and treatment. Recent studies have confirmed that our fight against drugs must include efforts to break the cycle between drug use and criminal activity. A report released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, which draws heavily from national data compiled by the Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that 80% of people serving time in our state and federal prisons were either high at the time they committed their crimes, stole property to buy drugs, violated drug or alcohol laws, or have a long history of drug or alcohol abuse. And, parolees who continue to use drugs are much more likely to commit crimes that will send them back to jail.
The findings are clear: we must stop the revolving door and break the cycle between drugs and criminal activity. To do this, we've included $100 million to establish a Drug Testing and Treatment Program that will provide discretionary grants to states, local governments, state and local courts, and Indian tribes. These grants will support programs to implement comprehensive drug testing policies and establish appropriate interventions to illegal drug use for criminal and juvenile justice populations. I strongly believe that systemic drug testing is an important tool for criminal and juvenile justice agencies concerned with controlling drug abuse among offender populations. And, when compared to substance abusers who voluntarily enter treatment, those coerced into treatment through the criminal and juvenile justice systems are just as likely to succeed.
Preventing Juvenile Drug Abuse:
Our request also includes $20 million for the Juvenile Justice Drug Prevention Demonstration Program that began two years ago. Designed to develop, demonstrate and test programs to convince young people that drug use is risky, harmful, and unattractive, the FY 2000 budget request will fund up to 280 new program sites, reaching approximately 1,000 middle school students per site.
As we investigate and prosecute more criminals, the federal felon population continues to grow. The number of federal detainees has increased annually by an average of 13 percent over the past decade, and by even more in the past few years. And, the federal prison population has increased by 142 percent over that same time period. Even though meeting this demand for additional detention and prison bed space is costly, it cannot be ignored. The Department's FY 2000 budget seeks $738 million in increased resources to meet this mandatory requirement.
Specifically, our request for the Federal Prison System includes $607.5 million to construct three new prisons -- 2 of which will add capacity for District of Columbia felons -- and to cover the startup costs incurred in connection with the construction of six more, including three that will add capacity to house long-term, non-returnable INS detainees -- a population that has been steadily growing over the last few years. Finally, the request includes resources to activate five other facilities to address the 28 percent overcrowding rate systemwide.
These funds will also allow us to meet the conditions of the National Capital Revitalization and self-government Improvement Act of 1997, which requires that at least 2,000 District of Columbia sentenced felons be housed in contract facilities by December 31, 1999. However, because the original Request for Proposal (RFP) to fulfill this requirement was modified to accommodate more stringent security requirements, there is the possibility for a short delay in the actual transfer of these sentenced felons from the D.C. Department of Corrections to BOP contract facilities. If these delays are realized, reimbursements for this population will occur between the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the D.C. Corrections Trustee. This action should not, however, affect the closure date for the Lorton Correctional Complex.
For the United States Marshals Service (USMS), our request includes $119.6 million to fund the costs associated with approximately 8.87 million contract jail days, 2.1 million above the anticipated FY 2000 base level. The detainee population has grown considerably over the last few years due to significant increases in apprehensions by our growing law enforcement personnel at the FBI, the DEA, and the INS Border Patrol. As a result, we are reaching a crisis situation in paying for bed space to house detainees awaiting trial. Indeed, for FY 1999 we will be facing a shortfall in the Federal Prisoner Detention account. I am attempting to address our shortfall from within existing Department resources. And, we have engaged a firm to develop a model that should enable us to better predict our future detention needs.
We are also requesting a $10 million increase for the Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP), providing a total of $35 million, to enable the USMS and the INS to obtain detention space in cities and towns where detainee populations are large and detention facilities limited.
In addition to the needs of the Federal Prisoner Detention program, the FY 2000 budget request includes nearly $27 million in increased funding for the U.S. Marshals Service to handle the increased workload generated by staff increases in other federal law enforcement agencies, and to provide the personnel and equipment necessary to ensure that new courthouses and new courtrooms in existing facilities can open on schedule and with adequate security.
In many ways, the Marshals Service work is uncontrollable since the Marshals organization must meet the needs of the Judiciary and our investigators and prosecutors. The Marshals do not control the number of threats that judges may be confronted with, nor do they control the number of prisoners coming into their custody. I have had the Department review USMS spending in 1999 and believe that the Marshals Service must be fully funded in FY 2000 if it is to have a chance at fulfilling its mission.
Exacerbating the already untenable situation we face with limited detention bed space and funds to cover the costs of housing the alien detainee population in state and local jails, the mass destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Mitch resulted in the suspension of all alien removals to Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala during the two months immediately following the Hurricane. While limited controlled removals have begun, the pace remains slow. In addition, limited detention bed space means that INS is unable to accommodate large numbers of illegal border crossers, particularly those from Central America. If this situation continues, INS is concerned that many more people will attempt to illegally cross the border. As a result, it is estimated that $80 million will be necessary in FY 1999 to support these increased detention requirements.
On February 16, 1999, the President submitted the FY 1999 Emergency Supplemental for Central American Disaster Relief which includes the $80 million for INS detention requirements I have just described. I appreciate the swift action Congress is taking to address these emergency requirements. Without these additional monies, our detention crisis will only become more dangerous and unmanageable.
Beginning in 1994, the Administration, with the strong backing of Congress, embarked on an unprecedented effort to strengthen our ability to control the flow of illegal immigration into this country. This effort has included doubling the size of the Border Patrol, adding more than 1,900 Immigration Inspectors to better facilitate the flow of legal travelers and identify those seeking entry illegally, and establishing an interior enforcement strategy that works in concert with our efforts along the border. We continue to deploy field-tested, effective technologies, and we have struck accords with other agencies, such as the U.S. Customs Service, enabling our philosophy of "enforcement through deterrence" to successfully evolve. The FY 2000 budget request continues this aggressive effort, but also reflects important management considerations that can no longer be ignored.
Specifically, no funding is requested to increase the number of Border Patrol agents in FY 2000. The request continues Border Patrol staffing at the FY 1999 level of nearly 9,000 agents, a 122 percent increase from the FY 1993 level of 3,965 agents, and allows us the time to ensure that we sustain the professionalism and integrity of our Border Patrol agents.
In March 1995, 1 committed to having 7,281 Border Patrol Agents on board by the end of FY 1998. We have met and exceeded this figure. Today, we have on board 8,040 Border Patrol agents. Our initial projection for FY 1999 end of year strength was 8,947. However, I am concerned that the difficulties we are currently experiencing in recruitment may leave us short of this level.
The high proportion of new agents make it necessary that they be allowed sufficient time to integrate into the Border Patrol corps in order to safeguard the highest standards of law enforcement professionalism for this new workforce. Law enforcement experts indicate that it is very risky to allow an agency's overall ratio of inexperienced to experienced agents to exceed 30 percent. When it does, the agency will find it difficult to maintain performance, professionalism and integrity.
Some municipal police departments have struggled with significant corruption and performance problems when they have greatly expanded their uniformed force in a short amount of time.
INS cannot guarantee that it will not have the same problems. In a recent study, it was determined that the percentage of Border Patrol Agents having two years or less service as of July 18, 1998, was almost 39 percent compared with October 2, 1993, when only 15 percent of Border Patrol Agents had less than two years of service. It is essential that the large numbers of new Border Patrol agents be given time to assimilate and to gain critical and valuable experience.
The FY 2000 budget maintains the Administration's commitment to border control with its request for $50 million to increase force-multiplying surveillance technology which, through the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System (ISIS), provides the capability to monitor the border from remote sites. ISIS will relieve Border Patrol Agents from having to go to sites needlessly, thus increasing their effectiveness while giving the Border Patrol time to raise experience factors to acceptable levels.
In addition, the FY 2000 request includes $6 million for new border inspectors in Texas; $20 million in increased funding to transport and remove aliens in INS custody and to increase detention space; and, $70.6 million to plan and construct new detention facilities, new Border Patrol Stations, and Sector Headquarters space.
A February 1999 Bureau of Justice Statistics Survey found that American Indians are victimized by violent crime at a rate more than double the general population. Recognizing this severe problem, the FY 2000 budget includes $124 million to fund the second year of our Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative, begun last year. Using funds appropriated in FY 1999, the Department has been working closely with the Department of Interior to address the critical need for better law enforcement in Indian Country and to find new ways to deliver resources to tribal communities in the most efficient manner. To that end, the Department, through its grant programs, is encouraging tribal communities to work together through intertribal or regional cooperation so that we can have the greatest impact with current resources. The Department is also developing a model project on three reservations -- the CIRCLE Project -- to assist tribal leaders in developing a comprehensive plan to address their communities' problems. I hope that this project will serve as a model for future, comprehensive efforts to improve public safety in Indian Country.
To build on the efforts we began with FY 1999 resources, the FY 2000 request includes $45 million for the hiring, equipping, and training of Indian Country law enforcement officers through the 21st Century Policing Program; $34 million for the construction of badly needed corrections facilities; $10 million for alcohol and substance abuse treatment in Indian Country as part of the new Drug Testing and Treatment Program; $20 million in At-Risk Youth Initiative funds to assist Indian tribes to prevent and control delinquency, improve their juvenile justice systems, and improve coordination and cooperation between tribal governments, federal agencies, and other organizations serving Indian youth; $5 million to continue the Tribal Courts Program; $5 million from the Police Corps Program to increase the number of police in Indian country with advanced education and training; $2 million to conduct a national census of tribal criminal justice agencies and related statistical activities to improve the Nation's understanding of crime and the administration of justice among Native Americans; and, $3.2 million and 26 assistant United States attorneys to investigate and prosecute crimes in Indian Country where Federal law enforcement is the only avenue of protection for victims of such crimes.
The Department's FY 2000 budget request includes $59.5 million in program increases for the litigating divisions of the Department of Justice. As responsibilities and caseloads continue to increase, these additional resources are critical to the Department's ability to prevent, investigate and prosecute unlawful activities.
Within these increased resources, $21.7 million is included to provide payments of claims expected to be approved under the Administration" s proposed amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act; and, $9.55 million from pre-merger filing fees is requested for the Antitrust Division to maintain its criminal enforcement program and to meet its statutory requirements related to reviewing and investigating the increasing number of mergers.
For the Civil Rights Division, we have included $8.23 million to expand efforts to prosecute hate crimes, step up the enforcement of fair housing and fair lending laws, and protect the rights of Americans with disabilities. Another $20 million is included for the Civil Division: $5 million to investigate and prosecute the Columbial/HCA matters, where fraud has been alleged in virtually every aspect of the largest health care conglomerate in the United States; and, $15 million for tobacco litigation. Like the states, the federal government has expended considerable resources to combat tobacco-related illnesses, incurring significant expenses through Medicare, CHAMPUS, the Veteran's Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Indian Health Service. With these new resources, the Civil Division will aggressively pursue claims against responsible third parties to recover such expenses. In addition, $5 million is requested to cover the cost of anticipated expert witnesses in the tobacco litigation.
For the U.S. Attorneys, we are seeking $5 million to handle an expanding defensive civil caseload for tort litigation, employment discrimination, Social Security disability, and prisoner litigation. Also, another $5 million is requested to implement the provisions of the Child Support Recovery Act of 1996 and the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998.
In addition to the special initiatives I have outlined thus far, the Department's FY 2000 budget includes $171.25 million for other important program enhancements. These include funding to improve communications, to respond to Congressional concern regarding the timeliness of office of Inspector General investigations, and to improve FBI intelligence collections and management capabilities.
Information Resources Management:
Specifically, $80 million in additional funding is requested to improve the information sharing abilities of the Department and to upgrade much needed legal and management tools. Within this amount, we are seeking an additional $38.8 million to continue to move forward with the FBI's Information Sharing Initiative (ISI), which supports the FBI's overall information technology, specifically its Information Collection and Analysis Strategy critical to the success of FBI operations; and, $37 million for Legal Activities Office Automation (LAOA) to upgrade critical legal and management tools within the Department.
Another $56.6 million is requested to accelerate the conversion of the Department's wireless radio communications to narrowband operations, and to support the Wireless Management Office within the Justice Management Division as directed by Congress.
Federal Bureau of Investigation:
And, $14.5 million in additional funding is included for FBI law enforcement services, including the federal offender DNA database, improved connectivity between state and local crime labs and the FBI, and to begin equipping the new FBI laboratory. Also, $5.8 million is requested to improve FBI intelligence collections and management capabilities.
Office of Justice Programs:
In addition, within total funding for the Office of Justice Programs, $7.75 million will be used for new civil rights and hate crimes initiatives. Of this amount, $5 million is included to create Civil Rights Enforcement Partnerships that will provide competitive grants to help build the capacity of states to address specific enforcement issues within their jurisdictions by hiring additional staff, primarily prosecutors.
Office of the Inspector General:
The FY 2000 budget request includes $7.5 million in increased funding for the Office of Inspector General (OIG), $5 million of which would replace with direct appropriations a reimbursement agreement with the INS for audit, inspection, and investigative oversight that has been in place since FY 1992. This will provide a more streamlined and efficient means of providing funding for the OIG and will eliminate the need for future reimbursements between the OIG and INS for fee-related work. The $2.5 million in requested program enhancements would fund 31 new positions in the OIG's Investigations Division and six positions in its Special Investigations and Review Unit. These enhancements are essential to enable the OIG to effectively address record numbers of misconduct allegations while reducing its average case closure rate to 180 days.
The FY 2000 request also includes an increase of $4.9 million to meet the ever-increasing number of bankruptcy filings, as well as to provide the U.S. Trustees with new capability for word processing, database management, communications, file-transfer, and security.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity to address some of the many issues that confront the Department and look forward to working with you -- and the entire Judiciary Committee -- in addressing the concerns that we share.