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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2004

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, I am pleased to present for the Senate's consideration today the fiscal year 2004 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

This bill provides appropriations for the first time directly to the new Department of Homeland Security which was created by law last November. The September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon here in Washington dramatically illustrated the need for more effective protection of our homeland.

On March 1 of this year, this new Department of Homeland Security was formally established. Its mission is to reorganize the Federal Government's efforts to prevent terrorist attacks, to reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism, and to deal more effectively with the damages that are caused by natural disasters as well.

The Department has administrative control over and responsibility for 22 previously existing Federal agencies and an estimated 180,000 employees.

The bill we present today provides total new budget authority for fiscal year 2004 of $29.326 billion to fund the Department. In addition, an estimated $4.8 billion in collections from immigration services and from air passenger and carrier fees paid by the users will be available to the Department for fiscal year 2004.

This bill is $1 billion over the President's budget request. The bill recommends that this additional amount of money be used to increase funding to assist State and local first responders, to enhance aviation security, to better protect critical infrastructures, to more effectively secure our ports and waterways, to hire and train additional border investigators and inspectors, and to establish the surveillance capability to protect our northern border.

As the Presiding Officer well knows, this is a big country. You cannot possibly build a wall around it. We have over 95,000 miles of coastline. The northern border of our country stretches a distance of 5,500 miles. Our southern border with Mexico is approximately 2,000 miles in length, all present very real and very important challenges to the security protection effort of our homeland.

For fiscal year 2003, and with the additional appropriations recommended by this bill for fiscal year 2004, Congress will have provided over $3 billion for the security of our Nation's ports and waterways and over $10 billion for security of all sectors of transportation through the Transportation Security Administration.

Through the firefighter assistance and Office of Domestic Preparedness grant programs alone, the Congress will have provided almost $9 billion since September 11, 2001, to enhance the capacity of the Nation's first responders.

To further explain part of the uses that are expected by the committee for these funds, I invite the attention of the Senate to page 9 of the committee's report that we have submitted to accompany this bill. It says, "Pursuant to the President's National Strategy for Homeland Security, the Secretary is to provide to the Committee, no later than April 30, 2004, a report that updates the progress that is made to: clearly define standards and guidelines for Federal, State, and local government emergency preparedness and response in such areas as training, interoperable communications systems, and response equipment; an estimate of the costs of the unmet needs of State and local governments for fiscal years 2004—2008 in meeting those standards and guidelines."

This illustrates the fact that, first of all, we know you cannot transform our country's homeland security infrastructure overnight; it is going to take time. This bill marks the beginning of the effort and a response to the President's call for the strengthening of our homeland security capability through the establishment of a new Department, which was undertaken by Congress through its legislative committees that actually wrote the law that provided the legal authority for this new Department to begin its work. This bill provides the money the Department needs. It is not all the money that can be spent. It is not all the money that everybody suggests is needed. But it is a very important and generous investment in the effort to begin the work that has to be done to reach the goals we all share.

As the Committee report suggests it is going to take a while, too, for local governments and local responders to upgrade their capabilities, through training, through exercises, through new state-of-the-art equipment and communications equipment, and other assets that are necessary to fully reach our goals. Working together with a better sense of cooperation between State, local, and Federal Government agencies, I am confident that we are going to see a dramatic improvement made. This is another positive step forward.

I am hopeful that Senators will appreciate the fact that we want to hear their advice. We had hearings where we not only heard other Senators' suggestions about steps that ought to be taken and the dollar amount of funds that ought to be appropriated, but we also heard from administration officials whose job it is to manage this new Department. We had a series of six hearings on these subjects. The Homeland Security Act established four new directorates under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security and its Secretary. Agencies were reorganized, such as the Customs Service. Some disappeared, such as the Immigration and Naturalization Service. However, the components and activities of that previous agency are included under the control and authority of the new Department in a way that we hope will make it a more
effective organization and those agencies better able to do their job.

But the challenges are quite enormous, as we all recognize. There have been, in the course of our hearings, discoveries made of the challenges, in terms of how many people there are to keep up with who are undocumented aliens within the United States, for example. That number has increased from 3 million in 1990 to an estimated 9 million now. Forty percent of those people originally gained entry into the United States legally, but they never left when either the time expired for their visa or the end of the legal authority of their presence came about. Attempting to identify and track those people, some of whom may be threats to our security and many of whom may not be threats to our national security, illustrates the challenges we face.

We are embracing in this bill the development of new technologies to help us identify, through automation and new technologies, friendly vessels that come close to our shores, that enter our ports, in a way that you can automatically know whether this ship is certified and licensed to enter that port or not.

The Coast Guard is included as a complete entity within the new Department of Homeland Security and is taking on new roles. So we have our challenge from the President to support these efforts. I think Congress is responding, as it should, with a generous bill for appropriations of funds needed to start this Department off on its way.

We will continue to monitor the use of these funds, as we suggested in the report. We are going to require to be kept advised of the progress made to achieve the goals. We will have oversight hearings. If we see there are needs that arise that have not been funded, we will bring those to the attention of the Senate. Working with our friends in the House, we will go to conference with the House upon the passage of this bill and work out the differences between our two bills and present the final result to the President for his signature.

I am hopeful that the Senate will support this bill. I am confident it will help achieve our goal of a strengthened and much-improved homeland defense against terrorism and natural disasters, as well.

Before I yield the floor, I would like to point out that I certainly appreciate and acknowledge the good assistance of the distinguished Senator from West Virginia, Mr. Byrd, who is the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee and who serves as the ranking Democrat of this subcommittee, for his cooperation and support during the committee's consideration and development of this bill.

The following is a detailed summary of the bill's major funding recommendations.

For security, enforcement, and investigations activities of the Department funded under Title III of the bill, $19.5 billion is
recommended. Included in this amount is a total of $8.1 billion for the Department's two new bureaus—the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Also recommended is $5.4 billion for the Transportation Security Administration; $6.8 billion for the Coast Guard; and $1.1 billion for the United States Secret Service.

For assessments, preparedness, and recovery activities of the Department funded under Title IV of the bill, $8.3 billion is recommended. This includes $3.6 billion for emergency preparedness and response activities; $823 million for the Department's new Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate; $201 million for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; and $3.6 billion for the Office for Domestic Preparedness.

In addition, the bill recommends $494 million for Departmental operations and oversight; $229 million for the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services; and $866 million for research and development activities of the Department's Science and Technology Directorate.

The bill recommends $8.1 billion for the defense of the nation's borders and investigations and enforcement of our immigration and customs laws.

Included in this amount is an increase to establish the first permanent northern border surveillance air wing.

The bill also provides $380 million for the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology project, known as US VISIT. This automated entry/exit system is one of the Department's top priorities. It will track the entry and exit of all non-immigrant travelers, making it easier for legitimate travelers while making it more difficult for those who may intend to do us harm.

The bill recommends $4.9 billion for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, which supports inspection activities and patrolling of our borders.

As I previously stated, the United States has 5,525 miles of border with Canada and 1,989 miles with Mexico. Our maritime border includes 95,000 miles of shoreline. Each year, more than 500 million people cross the border into the United States, some 330 million who are non-citizens. There are 118,129,875 vehicles that enter the United States annually and 16 million cargo containers.

To assist the Bureau in its task to protect our border, the bill provides an increase of $74.3 million for additional personnel, $41 million of which is for 570 additional border agents.

In addition, the bill provides full funding of $12.1 million for the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism. A safe and
secure supply chain is a critical part of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection's work to keep our country safe.

Through this initiative, the Bureau is committed to working closely with companies whose good business practices ensure supply chain security as well as compliance with trade laws.

It also provides the requested increase of $61.7 million for the Container Security Initiative. This initiative seeks to enhance the security of an indispensable, but vulnerable, link in the chain of global trade: the oceangoing shipping container.

Proactively screening containers before they reach the United States will significantly contribute to efforts to secure the borders against dangers that might be introduced through commercial traffic. A more secure maritime trade infrastructure will help ensure the continued smooth flow of merchandise through seaports.

The bill recommends $2.8 billion for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which supports investigations, intelligence, detention and removal activities, and provides a safe and secure work environment for Federal facilities. To assist the Bureau in carrying out these tasks, the bill provides an increase of $28.3 million for additional investigative and intelligence personnel.

The bill provides an increase of $66.2 million for the establishment of the first permanent air surveillance wing on the northern border. The Nation is vulnerable to illegal incursions by terrorists, drug smugglers and other criminals. The establishment of this air wing will allow the Department to extend its reach to an at-risk area of the Nation's airspace.

The bill also provides a transfer of $424 million from the General Services Administration, Federal Buildings Fund, for the Federal Protective Service, which is the same as the President's budget, to ensure a safe and secure workplace for Federal employees.

For the Transportation Security Administration, responsible for ensuring security across the U.S. transportation system, including our Nation's airports, railways, highways, and waterways, the bill recommends total funding of $5.4 billion.

For security enhancements to our Nation's aviation sector, an increase of $307 million over the President's budget request has been provided. A major component of this increase is $150.5 million for the purchase of baggage explosive detection systems and $309 million to make security improvements at our Nation's airports, including the permanent installation of these detection systems in the airport to move them out of airport lobbies. In addition, the bill provides funding at the President's requested level for passenger and baggage screeners at airports.

Also provided for the security of aviation is $600 million for the Federal Air Marshals program, and $25 million for Federal flight deck officer training for commercial pilots who voluntarily apply to carry firearms in the cockpit.

To further enhance TSA efforts to secure cargo placed on aircraft, $30 million is provided for the screening of air cargo.

For maritime and surface transportation security activities, the bill provides $150 million for port security grants, $30 million for the continuation of operation safe commerce to better secure cargo entering the Nation's three largest ports, and $25 million for trucking industry grants to provide for safe travel on our Nation's highways.

To further improve transportation security, $130.2 million is provided for research and development of the latest technologies to detect and deter terrorist attacks, including $45 million for research and development of next generation explosive detection systems and $30 million for research and development of new technologies to screen air cargo.

The bill recommends $6.88 billion in total funding for the United States Coast Guard, which supports the President's request for search and rescue activities, fisheries enforcement, drug interdiction, and defense-related activities. Included in this amount are increases for the Integrated Deepwater Systems, "Deepwater", Maritime Safety and Security Teams, and the Automatic Identification System.

The bill provides $702 million for the Deepwater program, which is $202 million above the President's budget. Deepwater missions cover the spectrum of the Coast Guard's responsibilities, including: homeland security, search and rescue, alien migrant interdiction, drug interdiction, fisheries protection, and marine environmental protection.

Deepwater was conceptualized as a 20-year program at a cost of $500 million a year, to recapitalize the Coast Guard's aging assets and fully integrate the communications capability of all ships and aircraft. In order for Deepwater to be completed in 20 years, the annual funding would have to include inflation, which has not been the case. If the recent pattern of under-funding continues, the projected time-frame for completion could increase to 30 years, thereby increasing the total cost to the government. Fiscal year 2004 funding of $702 million will go a long way toward getting Deepwater back on schedule for completion in 20 years.

The bill provides $134 million for the Rescue 21 program, which is the same as the President's budget. Rescue 21 is effectively the maritime 9-1-1 system for mariners in distress, designed to monitor distress calls, alert response assets, and coordinate search and rescue responses. This funding will improve the Coast Guard's effectiveness and enhance mission delivery of marine safety, law enforcement, environmental protection, and homeland security.

The bill provides an increase of $40 million for the Automatic Identification System, which is similar to an air traffic control system that transmits important safety and security information concerning vessels back to a shore-based receiver. This provides the Coast Guard with the capability to track vessels throughout the coastal zone and provide greater security to the Nation's ports.

To further strengthen the capacity of the Nation's first responders to prepare for and respond to possible terrorist threats, the bill provides $3.638 billion for the Office for Domestic Preparedness.

Included in this amount is $1.2 billion for State and local basic formula grants; $500 million for State and local law enforcement terrorism prevention grants; and $750 million for high-threat urban area discretionary grants.

The bill also provides $750 million for firefighter assistance grants, to remain as a stand-alone program.

The bill does not recommend the consolidation of funding for emergency management performance grants into the Office for Domestic Preparedness grant programs, as proposed in the budget. An appropriation of $165 million for this grant program is provided through the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate.

The bill recommends $3.6 billion in total funding for the operations of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, fully supporting the fiscal year 2004 budget for preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery activities; public health programs, to include the Strategic National Stockpile; and information technology services and regional operations.

The bill provides $1.9 billion for disaster relief as proposed in the President's budget. The disaster relief fund through the Department of Homeland Security will continue to operate the programs formerly run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist victims in presidentially-declared major disasters and emergencies.

The bill provides $200 million for flood map modernization activities to modernize and digitize the Nation's flood maps. These maps are outdated and in some cases not permanently documented, as the digitization process would provide. Fiscal year 2004 funding will ensure that the Department stays on track to provide up-to-date flood maps for the Nation within 5 years.

The bill continues the Emergency Management Performance Grants, "EMPG", at $165 million, and does not recommend shifting this program to the Office for Domestic Preparedness. EMPG is a State matching grant program designed to assist States and local communities in all-hazards planning and response, and is therefore more appropriately administered through the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate. In Mississippi, the number of counties with emergency management programs has increased from 43 to 65 in the last three years because of funds made available through EMPG.
The same is true for numerous other States, indicating the importance of this program to provide communities with the capability to develop localized emergency management programs.

The bill recommends $823.7 million for activities of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection directorate to identify and assess threats to the homeland, map threat information against current vulnerabilities, issue warnings, and take preventive and protective action.

A critical component of this directorate is the ability to provide the resources to secure our Nation's critical infrastructures from catastrophic events. In order to achieve this, $293.9 million is provided for critical infrastructure and key asset identification, field assessments of critical infrastructures, and key asset protection implementation to help guide development of protective measures to harden facilities and assets.

For the intelligence and warning functions of the Department of Homeland Security, $101.7 million is provided to guide collection, assessment, evaluation, and prioritization of all intelligence information.

As part of the effort by IAIP to better secure not only physical assets but also cyber assets, the bill includes $98.5 million for the integration of physical and cyber infrastructure monitoring and coordination for cyber security.

A total of $866 million is recommended for the research and development activities of the Department's Science and Technology Directorate.

This directorate is tasked with the centralization of research and development department-wide and is provided $64 million in support of conventional missions of the Department's agencies and bureaus.

The bill also provides $55 million for the establishment of a university-based system to enhance and strengthen the efforts of homeland security on our Nation's campuses.

As the Department works to monitor and detect cyber attacks by terrorist organizations within the auspices of the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection directorate, Science and Technology is responsible for the research and development of the most appropriate technologies for next generation cyber threat characterization, detection, and origination. For these activities, the bill provides $18 million.

A total of $70 million is made available for the technical support working group responsible for the rapid development and prototyping of new technologies in support of homeland security.

For research and development of critical infrastructure security assurance, $72 million is provided, of which up to $60 million is made available for research, development, testing, and evaluation of an anti-missile system for commercial aircraft.
There also is a great need for the development of standards and protocols for equipment that is used in the field for detecting, mitigating, and recovering from terrorist attacks and funds are available for this purpose.

Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.

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