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Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2018 Homeland Security Bill
Bill targets funds to security operations, border and immigration enforcement

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Washington, July 11, 2017 -

The House Appropriations Committee today released its proposed fiscal year 2018 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, protection against cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, and efforts to stop the smuggling of drugs and people into the U.S. The legislation also includes $1.6 billion for physical barrier construction along the U.S. southern border.

In total, the legislation directs $44.3 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, an increase of $1.9 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. In addition, the bill includes $6.8 billion – the same as the President’s request – for disaster relief and emergency response activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“The Committee takes its role in safeguarding our homeland and protecting our citizens seriously.  Globalization, cyber-security, and terrorism are changing our way of life and we need to change with it.  This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontline lines who work tirelessly to keep us safe.  The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders.  It is a balanced approach that enhances our capabilities and preparedness,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said.

Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman John Carter also commented on the bill:

“Keeping Americans safe by protecting our homeland is a top priority. This funding bill provides the resources to begin building a wall along our southern border, enhance our existing border security infrastructure, hire more border patrol agents, and fund detention operations” Chairman Carter said. “Additionally, this bill will increase funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, support grants in cases of emergency and natural disaster, and provide critical resources to protect our cyber networks.”

Bill Highlights:

Securing our Borders and Enforcing our Laws:

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – The bill contains $13.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for CBP – an increase of $1.6 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. These resources ensure our borders are protected by putting boots on the ground, improving infrastructure and technology, and helping to stem the flow of illegal goods both into and out of the country. Within this total, the legislation includes:
    • $1.6 billion for physical barrier construction along the Southern border – including bollards and levee improvements – meeting the full White House request;
    • $100 million to hire 500 new Border Patrol agents;
    • $131 million for new border technology;
    • $106 million for new aircraft and sensors; and
    • $109 million for new, non-intrusive inspection equipment.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – The bill provides $7 billion for ICE –$619.7 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Within this total, the legislation includes:
    • $185.6 million to hire 1,000 additional law enforcement officers and 606 support staff;
    • $2 billion – an increase of $30 million above the requested level – for domestic and international investigations programs, including efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cybercrime, visa screening, and drug smuggling;
    • $4.4 billion for detention and removal programs, including:
      • 44,000 detention beds, an increase 4,676 beds over fiscal year 2017;
      • 129 Fugitive Operations teams; and
      • Criminal Alien Program operations, including the addition of 26 new communities to the 287(g) program, which partners with local law enforcement to process, arrest, and book illegal immigrants into state or local detention facilities.
  • Coast Guard – The bill contains $10.5 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard – an increase of $31.7 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The bill provides for a 2.1 percent military pay increase, and targets resources to improve readiness. Specifically, the bill includes:
    • $7.2 billion for operations and training, military personnel costs, aviation and cutter hours, and maintenance of assets required to sustain readiness and response capabilities; and
    • $1.3 billion – $95 million above the request – for modernization and recapitalization of vessels, aircraft, and facilities. This includes funding for the Polar Icebreaking Vessel program, the acquisition of an Offshore Patrol Cutter, an HC130-J aircraft, four Fast Response Cutters, and facility improvements at multiple locations throughout the United States.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – The bill includes $7.2 billion for TSA – a decrease of $159.8 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This includes full funding ($3.2 billion) for Transportation Security Officers, privatized screening operations, and passenger and baggage screening equipment, in order to speed processing and wait times for travelers and cargo. This also includes $151.8 million to hire, train, and deploy 1,047 canine teams to further expedite processing time.

Cybersecurity and Protection of Communications – To combat increasingly dangerous and numerous cyber-attacks, the bill includes a total of $1.8 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate to enhance critical infrastructure and prevent hacking.

Within this amount, $1.37 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.

Secret Service – The bill provides $2 billion for the U.S. Secret Service – a decrease of $101 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level due to the completion of the 2016 campaign cycle. This funding level includes investments in investigations and cybersecurity, and continue funding for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – To respond to both natural and man-made disasters, the bill funds FEMA’s disaster relief account (DRF) at $7.3 billion.

The legislation also includes $2.7 billion for FEMA grant programs. This includes:

  • $467 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program;
  • $630 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative, including an increase of $25 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program;
  • $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 However, the bill does contain $131 million for E-Verify, which is funded within CIS and helps companies ensure their employees may legally work in the United States.

Other Provisions – The bill includes several provisions to save taxpayer dollars and increase accountability at DHS. The legislation:

  • Does NOT include an increase TSA passenger fees;
  • Does NOT includes a redirection of Brand USA Travel Promotion fees; and
  • Requires extensive reporting, including spending plans and benchmarks, to ensure funds are being spent appropriately and as intended.

For the complete text of the FY 2018 Subcommittee Draft Homeland Security Appropriations bill, please visit: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP15/20170712/106241/BILLS-115HR-SC-AP-FY2018-HSecurity-FY2018HomelandSecurityAppropriationsBill-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

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