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Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein Gives Opening Remarks at Briefing on the FY 2020 Justice Department Funding Proposal


Washington, DC
United States

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the FY 2020 President’s Budget Request for the Department of Justice.  I am pleased to present a $29.2 billion budget for the Department that makes good on the President’s and the Attorney General’s commitments to:

  • Fight terrorism and combat foreign intelligence and cyber threats;
  • Strengthen our borders and reduce the backlog on our immigration courts;
  • Combat the opioid crisis; and
  • Reduce violent crime.

This budget accomplishes the goal of keeping people safe through targeted initiatives, while maintaining fiscal accountability.

National security, including countering cyber threats, remains the Department’s highest priority, and that is why our budget requests $132 million for the Department to respond to these evolving threats.  Because these threats are continually evolving, they require the Department to be agile in developing new means for protecting America.  Terrorists seek to gain entry to the United States, and foreign powers seek to influence us through a variety of techniques, from foreign ownership of key infrastructures, to espionage.  This budget provides resources to protect against all those threats.

Highlights include:

  • $72.5 million to strengthen our cyber capabilities,
  • $33.7 million to extend our counterterrorism efforts,
  • $24.7 million to further the Department’s counterintelligence efforts, including those aimed at countering foreign influence over the United States.

With this budget, we are also implementing the President’s promise to secure our borders and restore a lawful immigration system. 

While dramatic progress has been made at the border in recent months, much remains to be done.  It is critical that we focus on increased enforcement of criminal immigration laws. 

  • This budget includes $72.1 million to enhance our border security and immigration enforcement.  Specifically with this funding, the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) will be able to hire 100 new immigration judges to help reduce the backlog of immigration cases.
  • 10 new attorneys and support staff to continue current efforts to secure the border between the United States and Mexico.  These are immigration judges and their staff attorneys and are therefore in addition to the 35 prosecutors sent in May 2018

This budget renews our continued commitment to thwart opioid misuse and heroin abuse. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70,200 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.  Over two-thirds of these overdose deaths were caused by heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioids.  The President declared a National Public Health Emergency in October 2017, and the Department remains committed to doing its part to protect the American people from the impact of drugs and drug-related crime nationwide.

For FY 2020, we have requested $290.5 million to help us combat the opioid epidemic on multiple fronts, including:

  • $13.1 million to fund five new DEA heroin enforcement groups,
  • $11.7 million to target Transnational Organized Crime, and
  • $11.7 million to support cyber investigations of drug organizations.

This budget will help us combat violent crime and restore public safety: 

Protecting the American people from violent crime is a top priority for the Department of Justice.  In 2015 and 2016, Americans experienced the largest increases in violent crime in a quarter-century, rising by nearly 7 percent, and murder increasing by a shocking 20 percent.

In 2017 and 2018, the Department revitalized Federal efforts to fight violent crime, including the launch of the reinvigorated Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, which brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.  As a result of our work, nationwide violent crimes have begun to decrease.  According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, both murder and violent crime went down in 2017.

Just recently the FBI released its preliminary crime statistics for the first six months of 2018.  They are only preliminary numbers, but they show a 6.7 percent decline in murders, a 12.5 percent decline in robbery, and a 12.7 percent decline in burglary compared to the first six months of 2017.

This Budget includes $137.9 million towards extending those efforts. 

A few highlights include:

  • $119.7 million in agencies throughout the Department, such as ATF, US Marshals Service, FBI, the US Attorneys, and OJP, to continue reducing violent crime,
  • $18.2 million for the FBI to improve its strategic targeting of Transnational Organized Crime groups.

This budget funds our key priorities.  It provides more resources for the field, increases prosecutors, and combats both violent crime and the growing opioid epidemic.

I am proud of what the Department of Justice accomplished on my watch in this Administration.  We made rapid progress in achieving the Administration’s law enforcement priorities – reducing violent crime, enhancing support for the law enforcement, combatting the opioid crisis, protecting consumers, and restoring immigration enforcement – while preserving national security, and strengthening federal efforts in many other areas.  Our nation is safer, elections are more secure, and citizens are better informed about covert foreign influence efforts and schemes to commit fraud, steal intellectual property, and launch cyberattacks.  By doing so, Department of Justice will better promote public safety.  We will uphold the Constitution and enforce our nation’s laws; we will seek the highest level of productivity and professionalism; and we will ensure equal justice for all Americans.

With that, I will turn the podium over to Lee Lofthus, the Assistant Attorney General for Administration, and Jolene Lauria, the Department’s Controller.  They will walk you through details of the Department’s fiscal year 2020 request.

Updated March 11, 2019