The House Appropriations Committee Appropriations Bill for the fiscal year 2014 was approved today with a focus on ensuring fiscal discipline while supporting vital homeland security programs. Congressman John Carter is leading as Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee for his first term.
The bill provides $38.9 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security. This is a decrease of $617.6 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and a decrease of $34.9 million compared to the President's request. This funding level is approximately $981 million above the current, post- sequestration level for DHS as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.
Rep. Carter says the bill provides funding to help strengthen American's homeland security efforts while ensuring fiscal discipline.
"The President sent Congress a flawed fiscal year 2014 budget request for DHS that relies upon unauthorized fee increases and reckless reductions to vital operational programs for the Coast Guard, ICE, and the Secret Service among others. This bill rejects this proposal and instead reduces DHS's overall budget while prioritizing funding for critical programs such as operations, FEMA's First Responder grants, and bombing prevention," Subcommittee Chairman John Carter said, "In addition, our bill bolsters Congressional oversight to ensure every dollar goes towards strengthening our national security. In short, this bill provides our frontline operators the tools they need to enforce the law and keep our country safe."
The following amendments to the fiscal year 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations bill were approved by the full committee Wednesday:
Rep. Carter -- The amendment made technical and other non-controversial changes and additions to the report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Rep. Carter/Rep. Aderholt/Rep. Nunnelee --The amendment restates current law prohibiting federal funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide for abortions, except in certain life-threatening cases, rape, and incest. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 25-21.
Department of Homeland Security(DHS)- Once made aware and investigating the public's concern of the Department's ammunition inventory, Chairman Carter says there is a lack of spending accountability and public transparency on these purchases that demands corrective action by the committee. The bill includes new statutory requirements to compel the Department of Homeland Security to account for all aspects of its purchase, inventory, and usage of ammunition, including how the Department's ammunition inventory and usage complies with stated mission requirements.
The bill provides $38.9 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Within this total, the bill prioritizes funding for frontline security operations, including all operational, intelligence, and threat-targeting activities, and the acquisition of essential tactical equipment.
Customs and Border Protection(CBP) -- The bill contains $10.6 billion for Customs and Border Protection, which is an increase of $35 million above the President's request.
This funding will provide for 21,370 Border Patrol agents and nearly 22,800 CBP officers -- the largest totals in history. This also includes increases for CBP's threat-targeting systems to fund needed improvements identified following the Boston Marathon attacks, such as enhancements for the identification of known and suspected terrorists and criminals.
The bill also includes $803 million for Air and Marine operations and procurement to continue critical air patrol efforts on the U.S. border --$88 million more than the President requested -- as well as $351 million for border security infrastructure and technology, and $12 million for trade enforcement and improvements at land ports of entry.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement(ICE) -- The bill provides $5.4 billion for ICE. ICE would also receive $2.8 billion for detention programs, including funding to sustain 34,000 detention beds -- the highest detention capacity in history and 2,200 beds above the President's proposed level -- and $96.5 million for alternatives to detention that the President proposed to reduce.
ICE funding within the bill includes $1.8 billion for both domestic and international investigation programs, including efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cyber-crime, and drug smuggling.
The bill also includes a $10 million increase above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level to visa security and overstays enforcement programs, aimed at addressing weaknesses identified after the Boston Marathon attack.
Funding Restrictionsand Policy Provisions-- 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 on another "Fast and Furious" type program, extensive reporting requirements for DHS's procurement and usage of ammunition, and limitations and reporting requirements on spending for conferences and ceremonies.
E-Verify- The bill also fully funds E-Verify, a program that helps companies check if their employees may legally work in the United States, at $114.2 million.
Transportation Security Administration(TSA)-- The bill includes $4.8 billion for TSA -- a decrease of $388 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.
The bill encourages reform of passenger screening operations by capping full-time screening personnel at 46,000, reducing TSA's federal screener workforce, and supporting TSA's shift to more risk-based screening.
Within TSA, the bill includes: $163.2 million -- a $15.6 million increase above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level -- for privatized screening operations.
The FY 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations bill was approved by the full committee on a voice vote.