The U.S. House of Representative voted to approve the fiscal year 2013 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill. Congressman Steve Austria (OH-Beavercreek), a member of the committee, supported and secured language in the bill to advance important national security initiatives, including language that encourages DHS to review the need for additional university-based centers, such as Wright State University's National Center for Medical Readiness (NCMR), to provide medical readiness training.
"I was pleased that the language I submitted in committee was included in the final report to support university-based medical readiness training centers, including centers like Calamityville, which is supported by Wright State University, to develop training programs that ensure the security of our nation. With the inclusion of the military and a focus on medical personnel, Wright State University is one of few training, simulation, and research centers in the U.S. and because of these unique traits, our region has a tremendous opportunity to be the nation's leader in premier first provider training, education, and research to help train our first providers," Congressman Austria said.
Specifically, language within the report requires DHS to report back to Congress on the progress of this review no later than 180 days after enactment of the FY2013 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. Also included in the bill is language that enhances homeland safety and protection by funding Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) request for disaster relief and provides appropriate funds for America's border protection and immigration enforcement.
"It is important to ensure that DHS has the resources to secure our borders and protect the American people against threats of terrorism. This bill includes the funding to strengthen our homeland security efforts and support our Nation's operations against terrorism," concluded Congressman Austria.
Homeland Security Bill Highlights:
Language authored by Rep. Austria to address medical readiness training:
The Committee is aware of the unique capabilities of regional training centers that provide training for first responders where they can receive initial training and additional training related to new techniques and technologies. The Committee encourages the Department to review the need for additional university-based centers that could provide medical readiness training and research and community resiliency for public health and healthcare critical infrastructure and report back to the Committee within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act on the progress of this review.
Other DHS Highlights:
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.