Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Full Committee Markup of FY 2020 Homeland Security Funding Bill

2019-06-11 07:01

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2020 Homeland Security bill:

I’d like to congratulate Chairwoman Roybal-Allard and Ranking Member Fleischmann for their tireless work on this bill. I also thank the staff for their hard work.

With this bill, House Democrats continue working to strengthen our national security while reflecting our American values.

The bill provides strong investments in disaster relief and anti-terrorism grant programs while putting a check on the cruel immigration enforcement of the Trump Administration. Restrictions in this bill would tighten the reins on the Administration’s practice of transferring funds for purposes other than those intended by Congress, including the dramatic expansion of interior immigration enforcement.

Among the critical investments is $3.06 billion for FEMA grants, including $700 million for Urban Area Security Initiative grants and $625 million for State Homeland Security grants, which will help secure our most at-risk areas.  Within those two programs, there is a combined $90 million for grants for the security of non-profit organizations, which are increasingly at risk.

In addition, we invest in protecting our communities from climate change. With more hurricanes and weather-related disasters, this bill would fund prevention and response efforts to help mitigate the impacts of storms and rebuild stronger than ever after they strike. 

The bill before us rejects the President’s excessive requests for Customs and Border Protection and ICE. Instead, it invests in high priority departmental mission areas, particularly the recapitalization of Coast Guard air and sea fleets and childcare subsidies for servicemembers and their families, who sacrifice each day to protect our security and our shores. There is no funding for additional Border Patrol Agents, checkpoints, or border barriers.

Additionally, the bill rescinds $601 million from the FY19 appropriation for border barriers, equivalent to the amount the President announced he would take from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund to exceed the funding level that Congress agreed on earlier this year.

Tough restrictions in the bill would rein in interior enforcement operations and phase out family detention by the end of the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2020.

This bill makes critical investments in our national security infrastructure while curtailing inhumane policies that have threatened many of our most vulnerable. I urge support for it.

116th Congress