Garland to be grilled on civil rights and gun control in first hearing as attorney general

May 04, 2021 at 11:19

(CNN) Merrick Garland will step into his first congressional hot seat as attorney general Tuesday morning, when he testifies before the House Appropriations Committee to propose a multibillion-dollar budget increase for the Justice Department.
On paper, the hearing will consider the Justice Department's budget request of $35.2 billion for the next fiscal year.
But Garland will likely spend more time talking about the biggest issues facing his agency than the dollars the department is asking for.
The chairman of the committee, Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, plans to focus his questions on how the Civil Rights Division within the Justice Department will be run, and how its leadership will address voting rights issues, particularly voter suppression efforts, according to a person familiar with the questions.
"Almost 65 years after its creation, the Civil Rights Division's work remains vital to addressing unlawful discrimination and bias.
Our budget seeks to increase the Department's civil rights funding by $33 million, providing a total of $209 million for the Civil Rights Division, the Community Relations Service, and related civil rights work," Garland wrote in his prepared opening remarks, which were released Monday night.
Garland and his leadership team, including Vanita Gupta , who was confirmed as associate attorney general only two weeks ago, have moved swiftly to tackle some of the biggest civil rights issues confronting the country.