Chairman Rogers Statement on the Fiscal Year 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

Jun 6, 2011

The House today will consider the fiscal year 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations bill – the first of the 12 annual funding bills to move to the floor this year. The legislation targets funding to critical homeland security programs and operations, while helping to address the urgent need to reduce spending to rein in the nation’s unprecedented deficits and debt. In total, the legislation provides $40.6 billion in non-emergency funding for the various programs and agencies within DHS. This is a decrease of $1.1 billion – or 2.6% – below last year’s level and $3 billion – or 7% – below the President’s request.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement on this essential legislation on the floor of the House today:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support HR 2017, the Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

“When I became Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I promised to return to regular order and the completion of as many appropriations bills as possible prior to the August recess, and I intend to stick by this promise. I look forward to an open amendment process and lively debate over the next several months.

“I also vowed that we would cut spending wherever possible to help balance our budgets. The Appropriations Committee is dedicated to the careful stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and you will see that in each of the 12 bills we put out this year.

“We’ve had to make the most of our very limited resources in all areas of government – and that includes the Department of Homeland Security.

“We begin the year with the Homeland Security Appropriations bill because we can all agree that our national security is a priority. Every day, our citizens worry about constant terrorist threats, the security of our air and sea ports, and the defense of our borders. But we also face the very real dangers of uncontrolled deficits. Americans deserve to live and work in a country that will protect not only their physical safety but also their economic livelihoods.

“This bill maintains the crucial measures that keep our citizens safe while also reining in out-of-control, dangerous deficit spending, providing $40.6 billion in total non-emergency funding for the various programs within DHS. This is a decrease of $1.1 billion below last year’s level.

“It funds the critical frontline personnel, operations and programs needed to uphold the highest levels of national security. Within this bill, we’ve bolstered our immigration and border security efforts, funded the maritime and security activities of the Coast Guard, and boosted security efforts to address air cargo threats.

“The bill also addresses the President’s overtly inadequate request for known disaster relief costs. It can be nearly impossible to plan for acts of God, but over the past few weeks, Mother Nature has wreaked havoc across the Midwest and the South, demonstrating the need for sufficient disaster relief funding. I’m proud that we have added $1 billion to the Disaster Relief Fund, while completely offsetting this increase by taking unused funding from the Department of Energy.

“We’ve significantly reduced or eliminated ineffective and wasteful programs, while requiring reforms in underperforming programs through heightened oversight, to get the most out of each and every tax dollar. This includes long-overdue reform of the State and Local Grant program under the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has been plagued by inefficiency. These grants often remain in federal coffers for years – right now, there is a backlog of more than $13 billion in unspent funds. As such, this bill reduces funding for this program by $2.1 billion, changing the structure and requiring increased measurement and reporting.

“This bill does not include funding for additional advanced inspection technology body scanners or the staff to operate them, and it prohibits funds to transfer, release or assist in the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees to or within the US. In accordance with House rules, there are absolutely no earmarks in this bill.

“The misleading budget request from the President for DHS included undefined and unspecified ‘administrative savings,’ and relied on $650 million of revenue from fees Congress has not approved. This bill follows both the spirit and the letter of the law that we must make real budget cuts – with no accounting gimmicks and no wasteful and unnecessary spending.

“Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this bill.”