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Chairman Hal Rogers Floor Statement on H.R. 240, the Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

Washington, January 13, 2015 House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers today spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 240, the fiscal year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.

The prepared text of Chairman Rogers' statement follows:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 240, a bill providing funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

"In December, the House passed on a bipartisan basis a bill that funded most of the federal government – 11 of the 12 annual appropriations bills. Today, we consider the last remaining of these bills.

"The security of our homeland is one of our highest priorities. This bill provides $39.7 billion for that purpose – to protect our borders, defend against the threats of terrorism, and enforce our nation’s laws.

"Today, we will also consider amendments to the bill that will address the President’s recent executive action on immigration. One of these amendments would prohibit any funding, including that collected by fees, from being used to implement the order.

"The American people have spoken loud and clear – they want our immigration laws enforced, rather than unilaterally changed in a way that undermines the spirit of our constitution and the integrity of our laws.

"The base legislation before you today ensures that our immigration laws are upheld, that our border is fortified, and that the men and women on our frontline remain well equipped and trained.

"The bill provides $10.7 billion for Customs and Border Protection, an increase of $118.7 million above last year to support the largest operation force levels in history and ensure around-the-clock border surveillance. Funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement is also boosted above last year, totaling $5.96 billion, including significant increases to detention bed capacity for both individuals and families, and full funding for E-Verify to ensure companies are hiring employees who can legally work in the U.S.

"In addition, the legislation provides funding to ensure the safety of our skies and our coasts. The Transportation Security Administration is funded at $4.8 billion, targeting funding to passenger security, cargo inspections, and intelligence. The Coast Guard receives $10 billion, denying the President’s proposed cuts that would have gutted vital operations.

"The security of this nation is also dependent on a secure cyber network, and recent headlines have only underscored our need to be prepared against new and advanced cyber-attacks and foreign espionage. To improve our cybersecurity programs, the bill includes $753.2 million for these activities in the National Programs and Protection Directorate.

"The bill includes increased funding to address critical lapses in Secret Service communications and training at the White House Complex, and to start preparations for the 2016 presidential election.

"In addition to providing for these important security efforts, the DHS bill also provides funding for disaster response and recovery. This bill allows $7 billion for FEMA’s programs, fully funding their stated requirements. It also provides $2.5 billion for important first responder grants that help states and communities act in the critical early moments following a disaste

"Finally, in all, this legislation before us takes the necessary steps to ensure the responsible, transparent use of taxpayer dollars, including streamlining DHS operations, reducing overhead costs, and trimming funds for lower-priority programs.

"I would like to thank Chairman Carter and the entire subcommittee for their hard work in reaching a bipartisan agreement last December, reflected in this bill on the floor today, as well as the staff, for their many hours put into finalizing this legislation.

"Nearly halfway into the fiscal year, it is high time we get this bill enacted 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. We cannot put our security at risk with outdated funding levels and the uncertainty of a continuing resolution. 

"I urge my colleagues to vote responsibly for the security of our homeland, and the security of our borders, and vote “yes” on this bill. Thank you, and I yield back."

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