Congresswoman Barbara Lee Applauds FY 2021 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

Washington, D.C. –Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), member of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement applauding the approval of the Fiscal Year 2021 Department of Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.  

The bill funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies. The legislation contains $71.473 billion in discretionary budget authority, a reduction of $1.7 billion below the FY 2020 enacted level, reflecting the completion of the 2020 Decennial Census. 

“This bill comes in the midst of a global pandemic, an ongoing movement against police brutality and systemic racism, environmental racism, and an economic crisis which disproportionately impacts Black communities,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Now more than ever, it is incumbent upon us, federal lawmakers, to look at every piece of legislation through a lens of racial justice. 

“To that end, I’m pleased to see that much of the language that was included in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is reflected in this bill. It provides clear guidelines for local and state police forces, provides $25 million for community-based research and training for law enforcement, and funds evidence-based recidivism reducing programs. 

“We also successfully included funding that incentivizes law enforcement reform by investing $50 million to address racial profiling, implicit bias, de-escalation, and use of force. This is crucial as we look to divest in traditional over policing practices that disproportionately harm communities of color. It’s past time we invest in re-allocating resources toward social workers, behavioral health specialists, and commonsense community-focused policing.

“Additionally, I was glad to see language included in this bill that directs the Department of Justice away from prohibiting medical cannabis in states where it is legal. As co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, I not only recognize the harsh inequity present in our discriminatory cannabis laws, but I recognize the benefits medical cannabis can have on people facing chronic illness. It is important that we allow patients to access crucial treatment methods without interference from the federal government.

“This legislation is coming before Congress in a time when we have a responsibility to make critical reforms to the harmful systems in place that perpetuate white supremacy in this country. These inherently systemic issues require us to reinvest into programs that will keep our communities safe and help them thrive and I believe that this bill is a start in that direction.” 

A summary of the bill is here. The text of the bill, prior to adoption of amendments in full committee, is here. The bill report is here