July 8, 2015
Today, the House Appropriations Committee released its proposed fiscal year 2016 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, which will be considered tomorrow by the subcommittee. The bill provides funds to secure the nation’s borders and enforce immigration laws, identify and protect against cyber threats, stop transnational criminals who smuggle drugs and people into the U.S., respond to natural disasters, and fight terrorism. In addition, the bill improves oversight of DHS to hold the agency accountable to the American people.
The legislation provides $39.3 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, a decrease of $337 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $2.1 billion below the President’s request. The bill does not contain funds to implement the President's executive action on immigration, and specifically bars the use of funds for these activities for the duration of ongoing legal proceedings on the issue.
Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers made the following statement on the bill:
“Safeguarding our homeland, strengthening our borders, enforcing our immigration laws, and protecting our people from the threat of terrorism and devastating natural disasters – this is the core mission of this legislation. It will target funds to these areas, making the most of each dollar, while trimming back programs that are lower-priority or that have not been proven productive,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said. “And the bill holds the Department’s feet to the fire through strong oversight measures to ensure that it is following Congressional directives, spending wisely, and providing strong enforcement of our laws.”
Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter also commented on the bill.
“I am proud that our bill focuses first and foremost on border security, law enforcement and fiscal responsibility,” Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter said. “This bill rejects the President’s attempt to undermine our laws and uses the tax payers’ dollars in a fiscally responsible manner by promoting reforms within DHS, and reducing ineffectual offices and programs. Additionally, this bill requires the President to enforce current law as it is written, not as he would like to interpret it by executive order. We must provide for our nation’s security and enforce the law while exercising fiscal restraint, which is what this bill offers.”
The bill provides $39.3 billion in discretionary appropriations 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.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – The bill contains $11.1 billion in discretionary appropriations for CBP – an increase of $417.7 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $346.8 million below the President’s request. This funding level provides for 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 23,775 CBP officers – maintaining the largest staffing totals in history. In addition, the recommendation includes:
- $784.9 million for critical air and marine operations on the U.S. border, which is $34.5 million above the fiscal year 2015 level and $37.5 million above the President’s request; and
- $439.4 million for border security technology, which is $56.9 million above the fiscal year 2015 level and $66 million above the President’s request.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – The bill provides $5.8 billion for ICE – a decrease of $157.8 million below the President’s request and $151.5 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. Within this total, the legislation includes:
- An increase of 604 agents and other support personnel to strengthen enforcement of immigration laws;
- $1.9 billion – an increase of $3.8 million above the fiscal year 2015 level – for domestic and international investigation programs, including efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cybercrime, and drug smuggling. The amount provides for 100% screening of visa applications and includes an increase of $2 million to expand the Visa Security Program; and
- $3.3 billion for detention and removal programs – a decrease of $172 million below the fiscal year 2015 level which included construction costs for a new ICE facility that was completed in February 2015. This funding level supports 34,040 detention beds and includes $109.7 million for alternatives to detention. It funds the 287(g) and Priority Enforcement Program, and directs ICE to prioritize the use of detention for family units in expedited removal proceedings.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – The bill includes $4.65 billion for TSA – a decrease of $180.8 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. This level provides sufficient funds for important frontline operations, including full funding for privatized screening operations (a total of $166.9 million), and increases above the President’s request for Federal Flight Deck Officers (a total of $21.5 million) and canine enforcement teams (a total of $131.8 million).
The bill institutes rigorous oversight and requires TSA to report on how it is addressing vulnerabilities within passenger security screening, equipment, training, and other protocols. Additionally, the bill urges TSA to expand and strengthen risk-based security initiatives to increase efficiency, improve security, and reduce costs.
Cybersecurity, Critical Infrastructure, and Communications – The bill includes a total of $1.6 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate – $82.2 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level – to protect critical infrastructure and prevent cyber-attacks. Within this amount, $798 million is provided to fund the deployment of the third-generation EINSTEIN system to help secure civilian (.gov) network traffic and to improve the Federal Network Security program to detect and prevent cyber-attacks and foreign espionage. Funds are also included to modernize emergency communications capabilities and to initiate the replacement of the Automated Biometric Identification System.
Coast Guard – The bill contains $8.5 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard – an increase of $133.7 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level, and an increase of $360.8 million above the President’s request. The bill sustains military pay and allowances, and improves readiness by denying the President’s requested cuts to priority programs that would have gutted vital Coast Guard operations, including counternarcotic activities. This funding includes:
- $6.9 billion - $76.8 million above the request – to increase readiness and improve quality of life, including funding for: operations and training; military personnel; aviation and cutter hours; and to significantly reduce the depot maintenance backlog; and
- $1.3 billion – $284 million above the request – to modernize and recapitalize vessels and aircraft, including funding for: detailed design of the Offshore Patrol Cutter; procurement of a HC130-J aircraft; additional small response boats; and the procurement of six Fast Response Cutters.
Secret Service – The bill provides $1.9 billion for the U.S. Secret Service – an increase of $239.8 million above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level – including additional funding for increased costs related to 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 eliminate. The bill also includes $24 million for needed facility improvements, including upgrades in the White House complex.
FEMA – The bill fully funds FEMA’s stated requirement for disaster relief at $7.4 billion. The bill provides a total of $2.5 billion for first responder grants, equal to the fiscal year 2015 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. The bill does not fund the President's request for $301 million for climate change initiatives.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) – The bill includes $119.7 million – a decrease of $4.8 million below the fiscal year 2015 level and $10 million below the President’s request – for E-Verify, a program that helps companies check if their employees may legally work in the United States. The legislation does not fund other CIS activities, as these are funded through the collection of fees.
Specifically, the bill does not contain funds to implement the President's executive action on immigration, and bars the use of funds for these activities for the duration of ongoing legal proceedings on the issue.
Research and Development – The bill includes $786.9 million for Science and Technology, $8 million above the request, continuing to fund investment in high-priority research and development efforts.
Savings – The bill includes several provisions to save taxpayer dollars. For example, the bill cuts funds for a civilian pay raise, reduces the request by $505 million for staff positions that cannot be filled in fiscal year 2016, rescinds $250.6 million in unobligated balances from various accounts and $1.2 billion from the FEMA DRF in unused prior-year funding, rejects funds for a new climate change program, and denies the consolidation of DHS headquarters.
Funding Restrictions and Policy Provisions – The bill retains a prohibition on funds to transfer or release detainees from Guantanamo Bay and includes numerous restrictions to prevent waste and abuse.
For the complete text of the FY 2016 Subcommittee Draft Homeland Security Appropriations bill, please visit: