Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on the House Appropriations Committee, today released the following statement after Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Under Secretary for Management Directorate Rafael Borras and Under Secretary for Science and Technology Directorate Tara O'Toole testified before the Subcommittee regarding DHS' facilities priorities and FY13 budget request.
"Earlier this year Secretary Napolitano reiterated the sentiment of the National Academies of Science regarding ourcountry's great need for the completion of the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas to protect our nation's food and livestock from biological threats," said Aderholt. "While I understand in part why the Department is conducting another assessment of the project, I hope this assessment will not be used as an excuse to undo the conclusions already agreed to in the competitive award -- namely, that we will have a level 4 facility in the United States and that it will be in Manhttan, Kansas, conclusions validated today by Under Secretary O'Toole. I find the Department's decision to request no funds for FY13 disconcerting. It is incumbent upon the Department to request funds for this facility, as well as to release the constructions funds that have already been provided."
"The St. Elizabeths DHS Headquarters consolidation project began with a price tag of $3.5 billion and a 2016 enddate, however with unexpected delays and additional costs the project will cost American taxpayers at least $4.05 billion and the facility will not be completed until 2021 at the earliest. This Subcommittee understands fully that undertaking major capital investments, while also trying to get our fiscal house in order is a major challenge for the Department, but there needs to be clear direction for this project as well as alternatives for future DHS consolidation. We will be looking to Mr. Borras to provide some viable, cost-effective solutions that ensure DHS personnel can effectively carryout the mission of keeping our nation secure, should St. Elizabeths not be a near-term reality."
"In today's tough economic environment it's more critical than ever that the Department meet our nation's homeland security priorities, while also having a clear plan for making responsible public investment decisions. Investments to headquarters and facilities cannot come before the Department's core mission," concluded Aderholt.