The U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to approve the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 5855). The bill includes an amendment offered by Congressman Jason Altmire which was adopted by a vote of 302-113.
The amendment bolsters security along the U.S-Mexico border by re-allocating $10 million within the Department of Homeland Security and moving it from the Office of Under Secretary for Management to the Border Security, Fencing, Infrastructure and Technology account to improve the mobile communications between Border Patrol, law enforcement, and residents. Congressman Altmire has traveled multiple times to the U.S.-Mexico border, most recently in May 2011, and has seen firsthand the challenges presented by inadequate mobile communications infrastructure.
"The lack of reliable cell phone service in these remote areas presents a clear safety issue for residents, ranchers, and the National Guard troops who protect the area," Congressman Altmire said. "This amendment, without requiring an increase in spending, helps to protect the public and improves the effectiveness of law enforcement in rural border areas."