Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Bill
Bill prioritizes security operations and enforcement, promotes strong oversight and fiscal discipline
May 27 -
The House Appropriations Committee today released its proposed fiscal year 2015 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, to be marked up in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill provides funding to help strengthen America’s homeland security efforts, including securing our borders, enforcing our laws, protecting against cyber threats, bolstering counternarcotic efforts, responding to natural disasters, and fighting terrorism.
The bill provides $39.2 billion in discretionary funding for DHS. This is a decrease of $50 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level, but an increase of $887.8 million above the President’s request for these programs. The bill also includes a total of $7 billion, the same as the President’s request, in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster funding to help states and communities respond and recover from unexpected disasters.
Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers made the following statement on the bill:
“This critically important legislation prioritizes funding for frontline security operations and enforcement to protect against those who seek to do us harm and those who violate the laws of our land,” Chairman Rogers said. “The bill makes straightforward choices to fulfill these essential duties, while finding savings in other, lower-priority areas to ensure the best use of every tax dollar.”
Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter also commented on the bill.
“I am proud that our bill puts border security first and promotes a strong message of enforcement and fiscal responsibility. Once again we are fighting against the President’s irresponsible and potentially disastrous budget proposal that deteriorates ICE’s ability enforce our immigration laws and cuts funds to secure our border to dangerous levels,” Chairman Carter said. “This bill rejects the President’s attempt to undermine our laws and uses our funds in a fiscally responsible manner by pushing for reforms within DHS, like reducing ineffectual offices and programs, and requires the President to enforce current laws as they are written not as he would like them to be. Our Nation needs security, fiscal restraint, and enforcement which is what this bill offers.”
The bill provides $39.2 billion in discretionary funding for DHS. Within this total, the bill prioritizes funding for frontline security operations – including all operational, enforcement, intelligence, and threat-targeting activities, and the acquisition of essential tactical equipment and assets. The legislation also includes important investments in the fight against cyber threats and illegal narcotics, and provides full funding for FEMA to help with response and recovery efforts following disasters. The bill also denies the President’s proposal to increase aviation passenger security fees and Customs and Border Protection user fees.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – The bill contains $10.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for CBP – an increase of $219.6 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $98.3 million above the President’s request. This funding will provide for 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 23,775 CBP officers – maintaining the largest totals in history. This funding also includes:
- $787.8 million for critical air and marine operations on the U.S. border, which is $17 million below the fiscal year 2014 level and $79 million above the President’s request;
- $79 million for threat targeting systems, which is $14 million above the fiscal year 2014 level and $8.5 million above the President’s request; and
- $412.5 million for border security technology, which is $61 million above the 2014 level and $50 million above the President’s request.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – The bill provides $5.5 billion for ICE – an increase of $466.2 million above the President’s request and $210.9 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This includes:
- $1.9 billion – an increase of $81.3 million above the fiscal year 2014 level – for domestic and international investigation programs, including efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cybercrime, and drug smuggling; and
- $2.9 billion for detention programs – an increase of $146 million above the fiscal year 2014 level. This funding will support 34,000 detention beds and $94.5 million for alternatives to detention. Also within this funding is an increase of $77 million above the President’s request to transport unaccompanied alien children from the border to Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities within the Department of Health and Human Services, to help meet the growing challenges stemming from the influx of children across the border.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – The bill includes $4.6 billion for TSA – a decrease of $300.3 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This level will provide sufficient funds for important frontline operations. This includes increases above the President’s request for privatized screening operations (a total of $160 million), Federal Flight Deck Officers (a total of $24.7 million), and canine enforcement teams (a total of $132.4 million). The bill also sustains funding for SecureFlight at $112.3 million.
To help limit waste and increase efficiency, the bill makes several reductions in other TSA areas. These include a $208 million reduction to Federal Air Marshals, a $26.3 million reduction for TSA personnel, and a $39 million (4%) reduction in TSA headquarters funding.
Additionally, the bill encourages reform of passenger screening operations by reducing the cap of full-time screening personnel to 45,000 screeners, supporting TSA’s shift to more risk-based screening.
Cybersecurity – The bill includes a total of $745.5 million for the National Protection Program Directorate’s cybersecurity operations, the same as the President’s request and $46.7 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This funding will continue improvements to the Federal Network Security program to help blunt cyber-attacks and foreign espionage, while reflecting the most current acquisition schedule.
Coast Guard – The bill contains $8.5 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard – a decrease of $46.6 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level, and an increase of $315.6 million above the President’s request. The bill sustains military pay and allowances, and denies the President’s requested cuts that would have gutted vital Coast Guard operations, including counternarcotic activities. This includes:
- $119.5 million above the request for operations and training, such as military personnel; aviation and cutter hours; and a significant reduction of the depot maintenance backlog;
- $201.8 million above the request to double the proposed acquisition of Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) from two to four; add one MH-60 helicopter, fund additional equipment for the C-27J aircraft, and acquire a C-130J aircraft.
- $630.3 million to complete construction of the eighth and final National Security Cutter.
Secret Service – The bill includes $1.6 billion for the U.S. Secret Service – an increase of $51.7 million above the fiscal year 2014 level – which includes necessary increases for the preliminary costs of the 2016 Presidential election. The bill increases funding for investigations and cybersecurity, and continues funding for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which the President proposed to zero out. The bill also withholds $20 million from the Office of the Director until the completion of a comprehensive report on professional conduct of Secret Service personnel.
FEMA– The bill fully funds FEMA’s stated requirement for disaster relief at $7 billion. The bill provides a total of $2.5 billion for first responder grants, equal to the fiscal year 2014 enacted level, which includes: $1.5 billion for State and Local grants, $680 million for Assistance to Firefighter Grants, and $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.
Citizenship and Immigration Services - $124.8 million – as requested – for E-Verify, a program that helps companies check if their employees may legally work in the United States.
Research and Development – The bill includes $1.1 billion for Science and Technology, $34.8 million above the request and $113.6 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This funding sustains investment in high-priority research and development efforts, and includes $300 million to complete the final phase of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).
Savings – The bill includes several provisions to save taxpayer dollars and improve efficiency. For example, the bill does not include funding for a civilian pay raise, rescinds unobligated balances from FEMA, reduces $76.4 million from Coast Guard acquisition funding, and denies a consolidation of the DHS headquarters for a savings of $73 million.
Funding Restrictions and Policy Provisions – The bill continues a prohibition on funds to transfer or release detainees from Guantanamo Bay, and includes numerous other funding restrictions to prevent waste and abuse. Some of these provisions include: a restriction against another “Fast and Furious” type program, extensive reporting requirements for DHS’s procurement and usage of ammunition, and limitations and reporting requirements on spending for conferences and ceremonies.
For the complete text of the FY 2015 Subcommittee Draft Homeland Security Appropriations bill, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY2015-HSecurity-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf