WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The $51 million in additional funding the nation’s federal courts will receive under a deal reached by Congress late Wednesday still isn’t enough, some federal judges argue.
Federal lawmakers passed the Continuing Appropriations Act 2014, ending a 17-day government shutdown and restoring some of the judiciary’s funds cut under sequestration.
President Barack Obama signed the legislation early Thursday morning.
The bill funds the government until Jan. 15 and raises the debt ceiling to Feb. 7.
More than half of the $51 million in extra funds awarded to the judiciary will go to federal defenders. The remaining funds will go to a salaries and expenses account for the federal courts.
The additional funds will bring the judiciary’s budget from about $6.65 billion to about $6.7 billion.
In an interview with The National Law Journal Thursday, Judge Julia Gibbons for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said the $51 million is a start, but that the judiciary will continue to push Congress to undo $350 million in sequestration cuts.
Sequestration refers to a set of automatic federal spending cuts put into law by the Budget Control Act, signed by the President in August 2011. The legislation raised the debt ceiling and was intended to put pressure on Congress to come up with a longer term plan for deficit reduction.
The $1.2 trillion in budget cuts, which were triggered March 1, will be spread over nine years and are equally divided between domestic and defense-related spending. The cuts are set to end in 2021.
“Certainly we will continue the efforts that we’ve made over the last number of months and we’ll keep giving Congress our message about the need for adequate funding,” said Gibbons, who serves as chairwoman of the U.S. Judicial Conference’s budget committee.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.