The House Appropriations Committee today released its proposed fiscal year 2013 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, to be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The bill strengthens America's homeland security efforts while at the same time reducing government spending. The bill provides $39.1 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, a decrease of $484 million below last year's level and a decrease of $393 million below the President's request.
Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers made the following statement on the bill:
"Our country faces the dual challenge of providing essential resources for the protection of the nation while also reducing federal spending to help ensure future economic and financial success. This bill helps to address both of these areas by providing the critical resources for our homeland security efforts, while also trimming excess spending to help reduce the nation's deficits and debt," Chairman Rogers said.
"This year, DHS will observe its tenth anniversary. This bill aims to mark that milestone with bold measures to create a stronger, more effective Department," Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman Aderholt said. "Consistent with the Subcommittee's work over the past two fiscal years, the bill demonstrates how we can sufficiently fund security while also reducing discretionary spending. The bill is focused upon fiscal discipline, hard-hitting oversight, and support for the most vital security programs. The reductions in spending are focused and precise, thus ensuring that there is full funding for frontline operations. There are appropriate increases for cybersecurity, preparedness grants, and research programs," he continued.
Critical Security Operations and Programs -- The bill prioritizes funding for frontline security operations by continuing the highest levels in history for Border Patrol agents, CBP Officers, ICE agents, and ICE detention beds. The bill also provides funding for all operational, intelligence, threat-targeting activities, and the acquisition of essential tactical assets and equipment for CBP, Secret Service, and the Coast Guard.
FEMA-- The bill fully funds FEMA's stated requirement for disaster relief. The legislation also recommends $2.8 billion -- an increase of over $400 million compared to fiscal year 2012 -- for FEMA First Responder Grants, including $1.8 billion for State and Local Grants. The committee continues reforms to consolidate grant programs into a streamlined fund allocated based on common-sense conditions, such as risk to communities. The bill provides $670 million -- the amount requested -- for Assistance to Firefighter Grants and $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.
Customs and Border Protection -- The bill contains $10.2 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) -- an increase of $77 million above the President's request and $9.4 million above last year's level, when adjusted for proposed transfers and realignments.
This funding will provide for 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 21,186 CBP officers -- the largest totals in history -- and includes $117 million for Inspection and Detection Technology. In addition, the bill includes $518 million for Air and Marine operations and procurement to continue critical air patrol efforts on the U.S. border -- funding that was cut in the President's budget request.
The bill provides $68 million for CBP's National Targeting Center -- an increase of $16 million over fiscal year 2012 -- to enhance the identification of known and suspected terrorists and criminals. The bill also provides no less than $20 million for outreach to counter human trafficking, and $327 million for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- The bill provides $5.5 billion for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) -- an increase of $141.6 million above the President's request and $76.8 million below last year's level. The bill denies many of the steep cuts to ICE requested in the President's budget to ensure that the agency can effectively enforce our nation's immigration and customs laws.
The bill includes over $1.7 billion for both domestic and international investigation programs, including $35 million for the Visa Security Program, $78 million for the Office of Intelligence, and an increase of $11 million to address human smuggling and trafficking. The bill also provides $138 million to complete the deployment of the Secure Communities program, and $2.7 billion for ICE detention bed spaces, providing for a total of 34,000 beds -- the highest detention capacity in history.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) -- The bill includes $5.1 billion for TSA -- a decrease of $146.5 million below the President's request (excluding proposed fee revenue) and $422 million below last year's level. This includes funding for security enforcement, cargo inspections, and intelligence functions.
The bill restores funding for Federal Flight Deck Officers, includes funding for the Federal Air Marshals program for coverage of all high-risk flights, provides a $5 million increase over the President's request in funding for canine enforcement teams, and includes a $15 million increase for privatized screening operations. The bill also encourages reform of passenger screening operations by capping full-time screening personnel at 46,000, and supporting TSA's shift to more risk-based screening.
The bill applies additional cuts to trim spending, both for efficiency and to offset the President's proposed but unauthorized passenger fee revenue increase, including a $61 million cut to TSA managerial overhead.
Cybersecurity -- The bill includes a total of $748.9 million for cybersecurity, $20 million below the President's request and $306 million above last year's level. This increase provides funding for a new initiative to improve Federal Network Security that will help blunt cyber-attacks and foreign espionage.
Coast Guard -- The bill contains $10 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard -- an increase of $211.7 million above the President's request and $63 million below last year's level. The bill sustains military pay and allowances, and reverses cuts in the President's request that would have curtailed important Coast Guard operations. Targeted funding is also provided to help the Coast Guard meet its mission requirements, including: funding for the 6th National Security Cutter (NSC) vessel and long lead-time materials for the 7th NSC; funding for four Fast Response Cutter vessels; funding for two MH-60 helicopters; and funding for one missionized C-130J aircraft.
Secret Service -- The bill includes $1.6 billion for the U.S. Secret Service -- an increase of $12 million above the President's request and $53.8 million below last year's level, reflecting normal reduction in operations following the Presidential election. The bill also continues funding for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which the President proposed to zero out.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) -- To strengthen the nation's ability to detect and respond to potential WMD threats, the bill includes a total of $316.3 million for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, $26.3 million above last year's level, to fund needed technology for Border Patrol and Coast Guard field operations.
Research and Development -- The bill includes $826 million for Science and Technology, $5.5 million below the President's request and $158 million above last year's level. This funding sustains investment in high-priority research and development efforts, including first responder needs, explosives detection, and cyber threats.
Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) -- The bill provides $45.4 million for CFATS, $29.1 million below the amount requested and $47.9 million below last year's level. This reduction is due to significant managerial problems, program delays, and poor budget execution.
Funding Restrictions -- The bill continues a prohibition on funds to transfer or release detainees from Guantanamo Bay and includes numerous other funding restrictions to prevent waste and abuse. Some of these provisions include a restriction to prevent another "Fast and Furious" type program, and a limitation on spending for conferences and ceremonies.