This week the House passed H.R. 5855, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. The bill provides $39.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security, $484 million below last year's level and $393 below President Obama's request. The legislation passed with bipartisan support. Congressman Westmoreland supported the bill.
"Protecting our homeland is one of my top priorities as a Member of Congress," stated Westmoreland. "That means providing proper funding for our armed forces and intelligence agencies as well as for our domestic security forces through the Department of Homeland Security. H.R. 5855 properly funds the agencies under the DHS umbrella while at the same time streamlining and cutting funding where appropriate so we are able to decrease overall spending from last year."
Funding for protecting our border and beefing up our immigration enforcement is a large portion of the bill. The bill provides $10.2 billion for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, $77 million above President Obama's request and $9.4 million more than the FY2012 level. This funding provides for more than 21,000 Border Patrol agents and more than 21,000 CBP officers -- the largest force for these agencies in history. In addition, the bill provides $5.5 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That's $141.6 million above the president's request, denying many of the steep cuts he requested.
"One of the best ways to keep our homeland protected is to secure our border," stated Westmoreland. "Our porous southern border allows hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to enter our country every year -- setting up an easy entrance for terrorists and criminals who want nothing more than to do Americans harm. That's why it's important to provide Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement with the funding they need to properly to protect our border and enforce our immigration laws."
The bill also continues a prohibition on funds to transfer or release detainees from Guantanamo Bay and includes numerous other funding restrictions to prevent waste and abuse, including a restriction to prevent another "Fast and Furious" type program.