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Hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security - FY2014 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

Hearing

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Subcommittee will come to order--

It is my honor to present to the Subcommittee the fiscal year 2014 appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security.

Similar to the Subcommittee's work over the past three fiscal years under Chairman Aderholt, the bill before us today demonstrates how we can fund vital security programs while also reducing discretionary spending overall.

So, this bill is about our security and fiscal priorities...and getting them right.

The President's fiscal year 2014 budget proposal for DHS presents a seriously distorted and harmful budget for our frontline homeland security agencies--decimating their operational workforces and undermining vital mission capabilities.

The end result of the President's budget proposal would be a far less capable DHS--one that would do substantially….

Less drug interdiction;
Less border and interior immigration enforcement;
Less visa overstay prevention and enforcement;
Less cyber crime investigation;
Less disruption of child exploitation crimes;
Less first responder grants;
Less response and search and rescue; and
Less bombing prevention and counter-IED training.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this bill flat out rejects this incredibly flawed budget proposal from the President. Instead, the bill in front of you addresses the very programs and systems displayed during and after the attack on the Boston Marathon by: a nearly 20% increase in FEMA's first responder grants; substantial increases above the request and last year's level for CBP's targeting, TSA's SecureFlight, and ICE's visa enforcement programs, including the phase-in of 1,600 additional CBP Officers; doubling the Department's Bombing Prevention program, substantially increasing counter-IED training and applying lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and a nearly 40% increase to the "If You See Something Say Something" awareness program.

In addition, the bill restores virtually all of the irresponsible cuts to DHS's operational and essential programs proposed by the President, to include: restoring the cuts to ICE's mandated 34,000 detention beds and vital investigative programs; restoring cuts to the Coast Guard's operational expenses, including aviation and flight hours, as well as restoring the President's truly harmful cuts to recapitalization and acquisitions of cutter and aviation assets; restoring the proposed cuts to CBP's Air and Marine operating hours and procurement as well as mission support functions; restoring the proposed long-term cuts to Secret Service staffing and financial crime investigations; and, providing these restorations while also strongly supporting the Department's disaster relief, cybersecurity, and research programs, including the full-year construction increment for the National Agro- and Bio- Defense Facility in Kansas.

But, this bill also considers our Nation's fiscal crisis by invoking real fiscal discipline and efficiency, including: a more than $613 million dollar, or more than 1.5 percent, reduction below fiscal year 2013 to the Department's annual budget; a 15 percent cut below the request to DHS headquarters staffing; a nearly 25 percent cut below the request to Departmental administrative expenses and bureaucratic overhead; denial of the President's request to increase bureaucracy by creating three new headquarters offices; termination of funding for ineffectual offices and programs; and substantial oversight requirements ranging from withholding funds to statutory mandates to reporting requirements on everything from major acquisitions to ammunition inventories, purchases, and usage.

This bill does not represent a false choice between fiscal responsibility and security--both are urgent national security priorities, and both are vigorously addressed by this bill. I must note that DHS did a shameful job at complying with statutory requirements enacted into law in FY13--those failures are assertively addressed in the bill.

This Subcommittee is serious about compelling the Department to both enforce the law and comply with the law.

And, we will not tolerate further failures in this regard--a point I think we make clear in this bill through 50 percent withholdings to the Department's Executive offices and 50 percent reductions to offices that are delaying the review and submittal of needed, factual information requested by Congress.

In closing, let me first thank Ranking Member Price. He has been a statesman and true partner to work with on this bill. I sincerely thank him and his dedicated professional staff for their input and notable contributions.

In addition, let me thank the thoughtful Members of this Subcommittee--your input was critical to this Subcommittee's oversight work over the past few months as well as the production of this bill.

I know that my staff and I made every effort to accommodate virtually every Member
submission we received and that has only made the product in front of you stronger.

Finally, I must thank the distinguished Chairman and Ranking Member of the full Committee, Chairman Rogers and Ms. Lowey--your input and support for this bill are genuinely appreciated.

I sincerely believe this bill reflects our best effort to address our Nation's most urgent needs--security and fiscal restraint. I urge my colleagues to support this measure and look forward to working with you as we move this bill through the legislative process.

I am happy to answer any questions anyone might have about the mark, but, before I do, I would like to recognize our Ranking Member, Mr. Price, for any comments he would like to make.


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