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WASHINGTON, DC -- As Chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies, Congressman Hal Rogers is questioning top federal officials about the Biden Administration's plans to use taxpayers dollars in next year's budget. During a hearing with U.S. Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland, Chairman Rogers said the Department of Justice's budget gives the American people more "lip service" than actively addressing major problems like skyrocketing overdose rates and an increase in violent crime.    

AG Garland's budget requests roughly $40 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Justice, an increase of over $2 billion from the current level. 

"The Department’s budget submission outlines positive themes such as: upholding the rule of law, keeping our country safe, and administering just courts and correctional systems. However, I am concerned these themes simply give lip service to the American people while the details outlined in your budget fail to adequately address these concerns," said Chairman Rogers, Dean of the House. "The American people continue to be concerned with the growing opioid epidemic. Synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, remain the primary driver of the increase in overdose deaths."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health and Statistics, reported approximately 107,000 Americans needlessly died of drug overdoses in the United States during 2021, an increase of nearly 15% from 2020. However, AG Garland's proposed budget would cut $25 million from drug enforcement task forces, along with the loss of 70 agents, while adding only four DEA agents for the upcoming year. 

"We don’t have to look far to see where the Department’s true priorities appear to lie. As the DEA and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces request little or even less funding, your budget submission requests nearly $45 million dollars across components for 'zero emission vehicles' to meet President Biden’s Executive Order 14057 requiring vehicle fleet electrification," Chairman Rogers point out. 

Chairman Rogers observed a similar theme for the Department's plan to address violent crime across the country, which increased by 29% in 2021.

"On December 16th of last year, you issued a memorandum providing updated guidance to federal prosecutors on the Department’s policies regarding charging, pleas, and sentencing for federal offenses – a memorandum that will only have the effect of making it even more difficult for prosecutors to hold criminal defendants accountable," said Chairman Rogers. "These changes send the wrong message to potential criminals at what could not be a worse time across the country. Justice requires accountability, and your memorandum handcuffing our federal prosecutors moves the Department in the wrong direction. I strongly believe that supporting law enforcement and efforts to combat the opioid epidemic should be a top priority."

For more information about Congressman Rogers' work in Washington as a senior appropriator, visit or follow him on social media. 

Click here to watch the subcommittee hearing with AG Garland. 

AG Hearing

CJS Hearing with AG Garland