June 8, 2016
The House Appropriations Committee today released its proposed fiscal year 2017 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, which will be considered tomorrow by the subcommittee. The bill targets critical programs such as aviation security, border and immigration enforcement, customs activities, the protection against cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, and efforts to stop the smuggling of drugs and people into the U.S.
In total, the legislation directs $41.1 billion in discretionary funding tor DHS, an increase of $100 million (0.25 percent) above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $432 million above the President’s budget request. In addition, the bill includes $7.3 billion – the same as the President’s request – for disaster relief and emergency response activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“Now, more than ever, we need to remain vigilant in the protection of our homeland. New threats to our people and way of life emerge every day, and the difficult challenges along our borders continue,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said. “This legislation makes responsible investments in the programs that keep Americans and communities safe, that empower law enforcement officers to enforce our laws, and that enable first responders to react effectively when either man-made or natural disasters strike.”
Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter also commented on the bill.
“Protecting the homeland is my priority, and this funding bill provides our frontline personnel the tools they need to do that. This bill secures our border, funds detention operations, and provides critical funding to protect our cyber networks,” said Chairman Carter. “In addition, it directs the Transportation Security Agency to conduct a critical assessment of its operations and requirements to handle increased passenger traffic while enhancing aviation security. It also includes steps to block the President’s attempts at rewriting our laws through executive order, and instructs our agencies to uphold the law of the land.”
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – The bill contains $11.2 billion in discretionary appropriations for CBP – an increase of $158 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. This funding supports 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 23,871 CBP officers – the largest staffing totals in history. These resources ensure our borders are protected by putting boots on the ground and improving technology, and help stem the flow of illegal goods both into and out of the country.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – The bill provides $5.9 billion for ICE –$72 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. Within this total, the legislation includes:
- $2.1 billion – an increase of $93.8 million above the fiscal year 2016 level – for domestic and international investigations programs, including efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cybercrime, visa screening, and drug smuggling;
- $3.2 billion for detention and removal programs, including:
- 34,000 detention beds, electronic monitoring, and GPS tracking alternatives to detention;
- 129 Fugitive Operations teams and 100 new officers to support the Priority Enforcement Program; and
- Criminal Alien Program operations, including the 287(g) program, which partners with local law enforcement to process, arrest, and book illegal immigrants into state or local detention facilities.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – The bill includes $7.6 billion for TSA – an increase of $163 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $21.8 million above the request.
To enhance aviation security and reduce unacceptably long wait times at the nation’s airports, the bill includes full funding for Transportation Security Officers, privatized screening operations, and passenger and baggage screening equipment. An additional $19.8 million above the request is included to hire, train, and deploy 50 more canine teams to further expedite processing time.
The bill institutes rigorous oversight requirements for TSA, and requires assessments on how to improve security and efficiency of passenger and baggage screening.
Cybersecurity and Protection of Communications – Hacking and cyberattacks have already cost the federal government billions of taxpayer dollars, and have exposed the personal information of thousands of Americans. To help prevent these breaches in the future, the bill includes a total of $1.8 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate – $120.5 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level – to enhance critical infrastructure and stop cyberattacks.
Within this amount, $1.1 billion is provided to help secure civilian (.gov) networks, detect and prevent cyber-attacks and foreign espionage, and enhance and modernize emergency communications. Funds are also included to enhance emergency communications capabilities and to continue the modernization of the Biometric Identification System.
Coast Guard – The bill contains $10.3 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard – an increase of $141.4 million above the President’s request and a decrease of $670 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. The bill provides for a 1.6 percent military pay increase, and targets resources to improve readiness. Specifically, the bill:
- Provides $7 billion for operations and training, military personnel costs, aviation and cutter hours, and to reduce a maintenance backlog that can hinder readiness and response; and
- $1.28 billion – $140 million above the request – for modernization and recapitalization of vessels, aircraft, and facilities. This includes funding for the Polar Ice Breaking Vessel program, the acquisition of an Offshore Patrol Cutter, an HC130-J aircraft, six Fast Response Cutters, and facility improvements at multiple locations throughout the United States.
Secret Service – The bill provides $1.9 billion for the U.S. Secret Service – an increase of $1.2 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. This will increase investments in investigations and cybersecurity, and continue funding for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which the President proposed to eliminate.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – To ensure responsible and ample response to both man-made and natural disasters, the bill fully funds FEMA’s disaster relief account at $7.3 billion.
The legislation denies the President’s proposed cuts to first responder grants, providing $507.2 million for these critical investments. The bill funds FEMA’s preparedness grants at $2.6 billion, sustaining fiscal year 2016 levels, including $1.3 billion for State and Local grants, $690 million for firefighter assistance grants, and $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) – The legislation does not fund most CIS activities, as these are funded outside the appropriations process through the collection of fees. The bill does not contain funds to implement the President's executive action on immigration, and it contains language specifically to bar the use of funds for these activities for the duration of ongoing legal proceedings on the issue.
The bill contains $119.1 million in funding for E-Verify, which is funded within CIS and helps companies check if their employees may legally work in the United States.
The bill also includes a prohibition on implementing any of the President’s executive actions to expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the proposed Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, while court action is pending.
Guantanamo Bay – The bill retains a prohibition on funds to transfer or release detainees from Guantanamo Bay into the U.S. or its territories.
Savings and Oversight – The bill includes several provisions to save taxpayer dollars and increase accountability at DHS. This includes:
- Denying a proposal to increase TSA passenger fees by $880 million;
- Withholding 20 percent of funds from all DHS headquarters staffing accounts until budget justification information is provided;
- Conditioning funds for transportation screening equipment until a full acquisition plan and justifications are provided;
- Rescinding $247.2 million in unobligated, unused funds from various accounts; and
- Requiring extensive reporting, including spending plans and benchmarks.
For the complete text of the FY 2017 Subcommittee Draft Homeland Security Appropriations bill, please visit: /UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2017-HSecurity-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf