Chair Roybal-Allard Statement at Subcommittee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Homeland Security Funding Bill

2022-06-16 09:09

Congresswoman Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Chair of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2023 bill:

I’d like to begin my opening statement by thanking Ranking Member Fleischmann for his input and collaboration in putting together the bill before us this morning.  

Our Subcommittee has one of the most controversial jurisdictions, which makes it all the more important for us to work collegially.  I think we do that well, and I very much appreciate the Ranking Member’s contributions to maintaining that approach, along with those of the other subcommittee members.  And outside of the border security and immigration enforcement areas, there is much in the bill on which we are in full agreement. 

As I have done each year, I want to acknowledge and convey my deep appreciation to all of the Department’s personnel for the critical work they do every day to protect the country.  And I want to emphasize that my appreciation extends to all of the Department’s personnel.

The Subcommittee’s responsibility to provide the resources necessary to protect your health and carry out your missions is always at the forefront of our deliberations.

Members, you have before you the draft bill and Committee report.  We have attempted to address as many of your concerns and priorities as possible, as well as those of the full Committee and House members more broadly.

The subcommittee mark includes $60.3 billion in discretionary appropriations within the subcommittee’s funding allocation. That’s an increase of $2.8 billion above the current year and $3.6 billion above the budget request.

To put into perspective the increase above the current year, it is important to note that more than half of that amount – around $1.5 billion – is required just to maintain current services across the Department.  

In addition, the bill includes $19.9 billion for major disaster response and recovery activities, which is funded above the subcommittee allocation, consistent with prior years.

Throughout the bill, we invest in high priority capabilities and activities across the broad spectrum of homeland security missions, including:

  • $165 million for a 3rd joint processing center for migrants encountered at the border;
  • $180 million for border security technology;
  • An increase of $194 million for Homeland Security Investigations;
  • $60 million to improve access to legal counsel in detention facilities;
  • $569 million for Alternatives to Detention and case management services, an increase of $127 million above the current level;
  • An increase of $589 million above the current year for Coast Guard operations;
  • $2.3 billion for procurement of Coast Guard vessels, aircraft, and shore infrastructure, an increase of $271 million above the current year, including continued investments in the Polar Security Cutter; Offshore Patrol Cutter; and Waterways Commerce Cutter programs;
  • An increase of $24 million for Secret Service operations, including $5 million for the National Threat Assessment Center; 
  • An increase of $334 million for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, including important investments in critical infrastructure cyber defense;
  • A $169 million increase for FEMA operations;
  • Increased funding for firefighter grants; Emergency Management Performance Grants; and Non-profit Security Grants;
  • $40 million for the Next Generation Warning System;
  • $683 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, including an increase of $274 million to help reduce backlogs of immigration, refugee, and asylum applications and help Lawful Permanent Residents become citizens.

The bill provides funding for an average daily population in ICE custody of 25,000 single adults, consistent with the budget request.

I also want to highlight funding in the bill to allow TSA to compensate its workforce at levels commensurate with those of other federal agencies, and to extend other equivalent rights and protections.  This is a matter of basic fairness to TSA personnel, who play a critical and physically demanding role in ensuring the safety of air transportation.  And it will also help address long-standing recruitment and retention challenges that TSA has experienced since it was first established.

I’ll conclude by again thanking the Ranking Member for his collegiality and constructive input on the bill and report. 

I also thank the Subcommittee staff, both majority and minority, for all their efforts over the last few months. I am proud of the work we have done on the bill and report, and I urge my colleagues to support it.  

117th Congress