Chairman Rogers Opening Statement on FY 2013 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for Subcommittee Markup

May 9, 2012

Thank you, Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Price. As we meet today to address the funding of the Department of Homeland Security, I wish to extend my congratulations to both of you and the subcommittee staffs on both sides who have put in long hours to craft this important piece of legislation.

This week, we mark the one-year anniversary of Seal Team Six’s surgical removal of America’s number one terrorist target, Osama bin Laden. While this is certainly cause for salutation, we cannot rest on our laurels. When we also learned that the CIA this week foiled a plot by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner, we were reminded that our country, our freedom and our way of life remain under constant siege - and our job is not done.

In recent years, we have seen a different kind of threat to our sovereignty emerge in our escalating fiscal crisis. In all areas of government, we must make the most of our limited resources. When it comes to our national security, we must maintain crucial measures to keep our citizens safe while also protecting them from the real dangers of uncontrolled deficits and debt. This means prioritizing our most important and effective programs – and in many cases, making difficult choices and cuts to rein in our federal spending.

With this bill, we exercise fiscal discipline and put the Department of Homeland Security on a more sustainable path – funding programs at $ $39.1 billion for FY13. Above all, the legislation prioritizes frontline operations and key, risk-based activities to uphold the highest levels of national security. The bill also includes critical funding for research and grant programs which support jobs and innovation while promoting resiliency and preparedness among our smallest and largest communities. While providing the necessary resources for DHS to do its job well, this bill realistically and responsibly reforms the way the government spends its precious taxpayer dollars in a fiscal environment that requires change. The subcommittee has trimmed back budgets in less essential areas, and made the Department more accountable by encouraging more stringent oversight, aligning funding to results and implementing acquisition reforms.

As a founding member of this subcommittee, I commend the Chairman for a job well-done and urge my colleagues to support this bill. I look forward to working with the fine members of this Committee throughout the rest of this appropriations process.