Proposed ATF budget runs into opposition from House Republicans

Ryan Tarinelli, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s proposed budget increase for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in fiscal 2024 faces sharp opposition from many House Republicans who want to make cuts this budget cycle.

Biden’s budget proposal seeks $1.9 billion for the agency in fiscal 2024, a 7.4% bump from the current fiscal year, as Democrats have defended the ATF as a critical part in combating an epidemic of American gun violence.

The budget request also calls for an increase in agency funding to implement a 2022 law to address gun violence, a measure that got support from only 14 of the 207 House Republicans who voted.

Republicans who are the most vocal backers of Second Amendment gun rights have criticized the Biden administration’s actions to toughen firearm enforcement — and will hold a markup Tuesday on a resolution to repeal one of them.

Georgia Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde, a gun store owner who sits on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the ATF funding, said his party’s push to reduce spending to fiscal 2022 levels will apply to the ATF and the Justice Department.

“So I don’t see them getting an increase in any way,” Clyde said of the president’s request.


The partisan divide over the ATF was most recently on display at a joint subcommittee hearing that focused on a final rule, submitted by the Justice Department earlier this year, that would require gun owners to register pistols with stabilizing braces that turn them into short-barreled rifles.

Clyde introduced a resolution that his office says would prevent the agency from enforcing the rule. The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a markup on the resolution for Tuesday.

Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who supports the resolution, lambasted the rule as he floated a cut to agency funding and suggested lawmakers eliminate the agency altogether.

“I hope that we can act to put an end to this ATF overreach,” Biggs said at the hearing. “And I would suggest that the most effective approach is to reduce funding, or better still eliminate all funding. And even better, eliminate this woke, weaponized agency.”


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