January 9, 2015
House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations bill (H.R. 240), which will be considered on the House floor next week. The last of the 12 annual funding bills to be considered, it funds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
In total, the bill provides $39.7 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, an increase of $400 million compared to the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. The bill prioritizes frontline security – including all operational, counterterrorism, and threat-targeting activities, and essential tactical equipment – and saves taxpayer dollars by reducing overhead costs and cutting funds for lower-priority programs. In addition, it is expected that an amendment will be added to the bill to address the President’s recent executive action on immigration.
“The funding in this bill is targeted to critical security and law enforcement efforts that keep our nation and people safe, and ensure the laws of the land are strongly enforced,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This is a responsible bill that makes the most out of each dollar – making the necessary investments to harden our borders, protect against terrorism, and respond and recover from natural disasters – while finding ways to save wherever possible. As the last bill of the 2015 Appropriations process, it is high time we get this legislation enacted into law to strengthen our homeland security efforts, ensure our personnel are well equipped and trained, and maintain our readiness for any threats that may come our way.”
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – The bill contains $10.7 billion for CBP, an increase of $118.7 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This funding level supports the largest operational force levels in history – 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 23,775 CBP officers. Funds are provided to test a biometric exit mobile application, to ensure around-the-clock surveillance of air, land and sea approaches to the border, and to maintain no less than 95,000 operational flight hours.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – The bill provides $5.96 billion for ICE, an increase of $689.4 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This includes $3.4 billion for ICE detention programs, reflecting significant increases above the budget request to sustain 34,000 detention beds and to increase family detention by 3,732 beds. The bill also includes $1.9 billion for both domestic and international investigations, including increases to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cyber-crime, and drug smuggling, and to expand visa vetting capabilities. Additionally, the bill fully funds E-Verify, a program that helps companies check if their employees may legally work in the United States.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – TSA is funded at $4.8 billion – a decrease of $94.3 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. The bill targets funding to passenger security, cargo inspections, intelligence functions, Federal Flight Deck Officers, and increases for canine detection teams and privatized screening operations. Additionally, the bill rescinds more than $202 million in unobligated balances from TSA, and continues to reform passenger screening operations by capping full-time screening personnel at 45,000, reducing TSA’s federal screener workforce, and supporting TSA’s shift to more risk-based screening.
Cybersecurity – The bill includes a total of $753.2 million for cybersecurity operations in the National Programs and Protection Directorate. This funding sustains improvements to the Federal Network Security and Network Security Deployment programs to help blunt cyber-attacks and foreign espionage.
Coast Guard – The bill includes $10 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard – a decrease of $159 million below last year’s level and $439.5 million above the President’s request. The bill sustains military pay and allowances, and denies the President’s proposed cuts that would have gutted vital Coast Guard operations. Targeted increases are provided for: cutter and aviation operating hours, training, and maintenance; acquisition of the eighth National Security Cutter (NSC); two Fast Response Cutter (FRC) patrol boats; an additional C-130J aircraft; one H-60 remanufactured helicopter; and urgently needed upgrades to family housing.
Secret Service – The bill includes $1.7 billion for the U.S. Secret Service – an increase of $80.5 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level – to begin preparation and training for candidate protection for the 2016 presidential election and to address critical failures in communications and training at the White House Complex. The bill increases funding for cybersecurity investigations, and continues funding for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which the President proposed to eliminate.
Federal Emergency Management Agency – The bill allows $7 billion for disaster relief – fully funding FEMA’s stated requirement. The bill also provides a total of $2.5 billion for first responder grants, the same amount as in fiscal year 2014 and $304 million above the President’s request. This includes: $1.5 billion for state and local grants; $680 million for Assistance to Firefighter Grants; and $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.
Research and Development – The bill includes $1.1 billion for Science and Technology, $116.3 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level, but $32.1 million above the President’s request. This level sustains investment in high-priority research and development efforts that will advance the nation’s security, including $300 million in funding for the construction of the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF).
Oversight – The legislation requires that DHS submit comprehensive spending plans to Congress to increase transparency and congressional and public oversight over the use of taxpayer dollars. The bill also directs the submission of reports detailing acquisition efforts throughout the department.
For the text of the bill and report, please visit: http://docs.house.gov/floor/Default.aspx?date=2015-01-12