Norm Dicks’ Statement on the FY2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

May 12, 2011
Press Release
Norm Dicks’ Statement on the FY2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

May 12th, 2011

WASHINGTON- House Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rep. Norm Dicks made the following comments following release of the FY2012 Homeland Security bill text:

“Yesterday the Republican Majority released their brutal Subcommittee Allocations for the FY2012 fiscal year which If enacted, would necessitate draconian cuts to programs that Americans depend on including Pell Grants, Head Start, Food Safety and WIC, as well as assistance to state and local governments.

“Today the Republican Majority released their bill text for Homeland Security appropriations. Although this allocation is not as drastically cut as some, there are still several short sighted cuts and unnecessary provisions in this bill. For instance, State and Local Emergency Grants are cut by a staggering 55% below the enacted level and 70% below the previous fiscal year. This is remarkable when on the one hand you have Republicans on the Armed Services Committee intent on making the global war on terrorism permanent, and then Republicans on the Appropriations Committee attempting to decimate funding to states, cities and localities to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks.

“As the threat of a terrorist attack still looms large, I find it unfortunate that the Republican-drafted bill ignores so many key investments on the domestic front that are critical to our security here at home. It just doesn’t make sense to slash homeland security technology research, grants to firefighters and other programs which have made our communities safer.

“However, I do appreciate that the Majority has decided to adequately fund our front-line border and security personnel and I’m fully committed to working with my colleagues throughout the appropriations process to come to a reasonable agreement on areas where we disagree.”

Below is a brief summary of funding levels and other key provisions in the Homeland Security Bill:

Total Allocation: $40.59 billion | -$1.07 billion below FY2011 Enacted | -$1.98 billion below the President’s FY2012 Request.

Grants and Training: The bill provides $1.7 billion total, -$1.7 billion, or -50%, below the FY2011 enacted level and -$2.14 billion below the President’s request. These include grants to states and localities, port and transit providers, firefighters and emergency management agencies. Of note:

State and Local Security Grants: The bill provides $1 billion for all State and Local Grants. This is -$1.82 billion below the President’s Request and -$1.2 billion below the FY2011 enacted level. In contrast, FEMA Disaster Relief in this bill is increased by $850 million. This is penny-wise, pound-foolish thinking as the Republican Majority fortunately sees the merit in helping states and localities rebuild after a disaster, but not prepare for one before it happens.

Firefighter Assistance Grants: The bill provides $350 million for Firefighter Assistance Grants, a -$460 million reduction from FY2011 enacted and -$320 million below the President’s Request.  Of this amount, $150 million is for SAFER grants and $200 million is for equipment. The bill does not include any waivers permitting states and localities to use federal funds to retain firefighters.

Science and Technology’s Research, Development, Acquisition and Operations: The bill provides $398.2 million which is -$629 million below the request and -$290 million below FY2011. This would essentially eliminate funding for many critical research efforts underway on cyber security, explosives detection, disaster resiliency, and detection of chemical and biological threats.

TSA Screener Hiring Cap: Preserves a cap on the total number of TSA screeners to 46,000, preventing additional hiring needed to staff new security technology.

DHS headquarters: The bill provides no funding for the new DHS headquarters or lease consolidation. This is another example of penny-wise, pound-foolish policy as it will result in higher costs down the road since the headquarters is already under construction.

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112th Congress