DOJ Faces $143 Million Cut, Antitrust Division Unharmed

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By Liz Crampton

The Department of Justice could receive a $143 million cut in funding as part of a spending package Congress is expected to vote on this week.

But the antitrust division’s funding would remain unchanged from the fiscal 2016 budget, at nearly $165 million. The total amount allotted to the DOJ under the bill is $29 billion.

The flat funding for the antitrust division is good news for industry participants involved in big mergers and antitrust enforcement. Former antitrust officials worried that an already “lean” enforcement division would be forced to eliminate crucial staff if the division’s funding were cut, which could lead to the trimming of useful activities like guidance.

The spending package would fund the government until the end of September. For Justice Department funding, priority is given to “critical activities that protect the safety, rights, and property of individuals and families,” such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a summary of the measure.

Last year, the DOJ requested increases over the previous year’s allotment but has been operating under stopgap funding since October.

President Donald Trump is seeking deeper cuts to the Justice Department in the long term. The White House’s 2018 budget blueprint calls for a $1.1 billion cut to the DOJ.

To contact the reporter on this story: Liz Crampton in Washington at lcrampton@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bna.com

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