After four continuing resolutions and a long delay, Congress finally passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill that will fund the U.S. government through the rest of this fiscal year (FY). The President signed this omnibus spending package, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (Pub. L. 117-103), into law on March 15th.
Along with appropriating FY 2022 funds for various programs, the bill also includes $13.6 billion in emergency supplemental aid to Ukraine and America's NATO allies in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The bill did not include the $15 billion in COVID relief contained in the original draft.
Important legislative provisions contained in this omnibus spending package include reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act for the first time since it lapsed in 2019 and authorization to spend up to $8 million (with no new appropriations attached) to improve conditions for women in federal custody by providing essential items like free feminine hygiene products and promoting stable housing, trauma assistance, job search, and family support.
The ABA also has policy interests in some of the bill’s specific appropriations, including:
- Legal Services Corporation funding of $489 million, $24 million above the FY 2021 enacted level, to provide legal assistance to low-income Americans.
- Re-entry program funding of $115 million under the Second Chance Act of 2007, which is a $15M increase over FY 2021.
- Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, funding of $409.5 million for programs and activities implementing the First Step Act.
- John R. Justice Prosecutor and Defender Loan Forgiveness Program funding of $4 million, the program's first increase since its creation in 2008.
- Juvenile Justice program funding of $360 million, including $2.5M to further improve juvenile indigent defense
- Federal Judiciary discretionary funding of $7.99 billion, which is $267 million more than last fiscal year’s appropriation. Of special note, the law provides more than $704 million for Court Security, an increase of $41 million over last year.
- Library of Congress funding of $550.6 million, including for the Law Library of Congress, a $27M increase over FY 2021 funding.
- Department of Housing and Urban Development funding of $53.7 billion, $4 billion over FY 2021 funding, for various programs including tenant-based rental assistance (Housing Choice Vouchers), homeless assistance programs, and community development block grants.
- Executive Office for Immigration Review funding of $760 million, an increase of $26 million above FY 2021, including $24 million for the Legal Orientation Program.
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office funding of over $4 billion, an increase of $363.1 million above FY 2021, to help protect new ideas and investments in American innovation and creativity, and to promote technological progress and achievement.
To learn more about the FY 2022 omnibus bill, click here. Follow us @ABAGrassroots to track major developments as they happen.