Justice Asked to Identify $1 Billion in Budget Cuts

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- The White House has asked the Justice Department to identify $1 billion in budget cuts for the next fiscal year, raising the prospect of thousands of job losses and reductions of millions of dollars in funding for local police departments, sources said yesterday.

The proposed reduction for fiscal 2002 comes at a time of rapidly escalating costs at the two largest divisions within Justice, the Bureau of Prisons and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, that have been scrambling to keep up with record tides of federal prisoners and new immigrants in recent years. Under President Clinton, the Justice Department grew faster than any other agency.

Officials at the INS and the Bureau of Prisons maintain that increasing responsibilities, many of them mandated by Congress, make budget cuts unrealistic. As a result, sources said, the directive could force Attorney General John Ashcroft to make deep cuts in other agencies, including the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and in grant programs such as the one that helps local governments pay for new police officers and equipment. …

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