U.S. House approves security, cyber-funding boost for federal judiciary

  • U.S. House approves $8.6 billion in discretionary appropriations for judiciary
  • Bill faces long road before becoming final

The federal judiciary would receive a significant boost in funding for court security and cybersecurity under a $492.6 billion spending package for 2023 that the U.S. House of Representatives approved on Wednesday.

The House voted 220-207 to approve a massive package of six bills to fund an array of arms of the federal government including the judiciary, which would receive $8.6 billion in discretionary appropriations, up 7.2% from the 2022 fiscal year.

The budget package, which also includes funding for departments ranging from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security, passed on a party-line vote with no Republican support.

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The money allocated to the judiciary includes nearly $751 million for court security, a 6.5% bump from 2022 amid a rising number of threats to judges. The U.S. Marshals Service says federal judges were subject to 4,511 threats and inappropriate communications in 2021.

It also includes $128 million for 2023 that can go toward the $403 million the judiciary sought over a multi-year period for cybersecurity improvements needed to guard against cyberattacks on its aging, vulnerable computer systems.

It now goes to the Senate for consideration in a process that could continue for months. Changes are possible once the Senate and House get into serious negotiations on spending priorities for the fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts had no immediate comment.

The bill includes increased spending on all aspects of the judiciary including the U.S. Supreme Court, which would receive $143 million, a 27% increase partly aimed at assisting the high court with its own security needs.

Security concerns have heightened amid protests outside of several of the justices’ homes prompted by the court’s reversal last month of its 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade recognizing a right to abortions.

The bill, if approved by Congress, would also renew funding for a program aimed at the voluntary removal of judges’ personal information from the internet.