House Republicans are, after the recent hearing with FBI Director Chris Wray that many on the right saw as confirming their beliefs about the agency and its misdeeds, moving to strip the agency of about $1 billion in funding and protect whistleblowers in the federal government, including the FBI.
The bill has made it out of the first stage, as it was passed by the Republicans on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. Predictably, the bill was heavily opposed by Democrats on the committee; though they opposed law enforcement, particularly the FBI, the Democrats are now on its side as it targets Trump and some outspoken conservatives.
Though the bill faces a long, uphill battle before it even has a chance of becoming law, it would cut the FBI’s funding by about 9% if cut. Further, even if not passed, the bill could encourage conservatives in the House to refuse to pass a budget or continuing resolution that doesn’t strip the FBI’s funding by that amount.
The cut funds pertain to the FBI’s DEO office and other agency diversity offices, such as DEI offices inside the Commerce Department and Department of Justice. And while the FBI could lose $1 billion in funding as the GOP attempts to take an axe to its DEI office, the DOJ and Commerce Department could lose even more: the DOJ would get its funding cut by $2 billion, and the Commerce Department would lose $1.4 billion.
Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger of Texas, a Republican, commented on the appropriations bill and FBI funding. She said, “The bill holds the Department of Justice accountable and improves our immigration court system. It supports state and local law enforcement and provides critical resources to combat illegal drugs flooding our country.
The bill would also protect federal whistleblowers by withholding the salaries of those federal employees, such as FBI agents, who take action against whistleblowers.
The anti-FBI moves come alongside a year’s worth of anti-FBI messaging from the GOP. Anthony Sabattini, for instance, tweeted in August of 2022, after the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, “It’s time for us in the Florida Legislature to call an emergency legislative session & amend our laws regarding federal agencies. Sever all ties with DOJ immediately. Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight”
Similarly, Kari Lake, in a statement, said, “This is one of the darkest days in American history: the day our Government, originally created by the people, turned against us. This illegitimate, corrupt Regime hates America and has weaponized the entirety of the Federal Government to take down President Donald Trump. Our Government is rotten to the core. These tyrants will stop at nothing to silence the Patriots who are working hard to save America.This is an incredibly horrendous abuse of power. If we accept it, America is dead. We will not accept it. The 10th Amendment can and will save our Republic and the road to stripping the Feds of power travels right through Arizona. We must fire the Federal Government.“