Chair DeLauro Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2022 Homeland Security Funding Bill

2021-07-13 10:54

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2022 Homeland Security bill:

Thank you, Chairwoman Roybal-Allard and Ranking Member Fleischmann, for your work on the bill before us. I am also appreciative of the Subcommittee, Front Office, and personal office staffs for all of their efforts.

This bill responsibly funds the capabilities we need to address the many threats we face, while upholding the values we so cherish as a nation.

Now more than ever, the risks we face from cyber attacks threaten both our economic and national security. As the Colonial Pipeline hack demonstrated, we need historic investments to protect our networks. With $2.42 billion for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, this bill responds with the urgency necessary to meet the moment. The bill also funds research for voting technologies and election procedures to help secure the cyber infrastructure that underpins our elections. 

As we secure our digital infrastructure, recent events have similarly proven that a strong Coast Guard (USCG) has never been more critical. Just last week I was delighted to visit Connecticut’s U.S. Coast Guard Section in Long Island Sound, which is in my district, with the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Karl L. Schultz. It was my honor to meet with Captain Eva Van Camp and other members of the Service to discuss their needs and how the federal government can best support their efforts. As I recounted to my colleagues when we spoke to the young men and women in the service there they, one after the other, got up and talked about the issues that faced their families and whether that is child care, decent housing, those were the issues that were on their mind. This past year has made clear that historic investments are needed to expand the reach of the Coast Guard to better address everything from Russian aggression in the Arctic to mitigating the continuing threat of COVID-19.

In order to meet the growing needs of this vital Service, for the past few years, the Appropriations Committee has focused on investing in Coast Guard personnel and families, operational readiness, and shore facilities through funding for childcare subsidies, recruitment and retention, training and of course development, housing and other shore infrastructure, mental health support and services, and cutter underway connectivity. Now with $13.17 billion in total funding, the fiscal year 2022 bill continues this focus on personnel and operational readiness with further investments in education assistance, recruiting, operational safety and detection equipment, and surface short range communications, as well as operational command and control and domain awareness on cutters. I also am pleased to note that this bill includes funding to bolster cybersecurity at the Coast Guard. This includes $29 million to help modernize the Coast Guard’s outdated information technology systems and usher in a ‘technology revolution,’ which is an important component to ensuring our national security. 

Finally, this bill provides funds to responsibly secure the border while facilitating commerce and tourism. I am proud of these investments, which will support both our national security and our economy while upholding our values as Americans.

Migrants escaping conditions in their home countries and lawfully seeking asylum in the United States must be appropriately cared for when they reach our border. With $20 million for Customs and Border Protection migrant processing improvements and $3 million for migrant child caregivers, this bill begins to protect our most vulnerable immigrants. And it provides funding to create alternatives to detention, clear backlogs in refugee and asylum processing, and improve existing ports of entry while constructing new ones.

But even as we work to ensure those who come to our borders are treated with dignity and respect, we must also invest in these migrant’s home countries so that they no longer feel the need to leave. Quite frankly, the reason we have so many migrants risking their lives and coming to our borders in search of a better life is not because our immigration system is too lax. After all, the majority of those who come here are not allowed to stay. Rather, it is that the violence that these migrants face in their home countries is so great, that the incentive to leave far outweighs the incentive to stay. The influx of migrants that we are seeing at our borders will never cease unless we work to address the root causes of this migration. So, I would just like to make that point that this is a problem we have the power to fix, not by overly stringent immigration policies, but through robust international investment. 

I am proud of the critical investments in this bill, and I urge you all for your support. Once again, I would like to again thank Chairwoman Roybal-Allard and Ranking Member Fleischmann, and I thank the staff for their hard work.”

117th Congress