The House Appropriations Committee today released its proposed fiscal year 2019 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, which will be considered tomorrow by the subcommittee. The bill targets critical programs such as aviation security, border and immigration enforcement, customs activities, protection against cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, and efforts to stop the smuggling of drugs and people into the U.S.
In total, the legislation directs $51.4 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, an increase of $3.7 billion above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. In addition, the bill includes $6.7 billion – the same as the President’s request – for major disaster relief and emergency response activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The legislation also includes $5 billion for physical barriers and associated technology along the U.S. southern border. This amount provides for over 200 miles of new physical barrier construction. Additionally, the bill includes $223 million for 140 new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) canine teams to initiate a five-year strategy towards achieving 100 percent scanning on the southern border.
“The Committee takes its role in safeguarding our homeland and protecting our citizens seriously. Globalization, cybersecurity, and terrorism are changing our way of life and we need to change with it. This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontline who work tirelessly to keep us safe. The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders. It is a balanced approach that enhances our capabilities and preparedness,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said.
Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Yoder also commented on the bill:
“Cartels are trafficking $64 billion a year in drugs and people across our border – and much of it comes through one small stretch at the Rio Grande Valley,” Chairman Yoder said. “This bill takes the largest steps in years toward finally fulfilling our promise to the American people to secure the border. We add funding for more than 200 miles of physical barrier, hundreds of new immigration and customs enforcement agents, and state-of-the-art technology that will give our law enforcement agencies the tools they need to keep us safe. We take concrete steps to keep families together at the border, enforcing our immigration laws humanely and responsibly. This is all in addition to emergency and natural disaster relief grants, critical resources to protect our cyber networks, and tools to defend against terror threats.”
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – The bill contains $17.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for CBP – an increase of $3.8 billion above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. These resources ensure our borders are protected by putting boots on the ground, improving infrastructure and technology, and helping to stem the flow of illegal goods both into and out of the country. Within this total, the legislation includes:
- $5 billion for border security assets and infrastructure, for over 200 miles of new physical barrier construction along the southern border and $126 million for border technology.
- $223 million for new non-intrusive inspection equipment and 140 new CBP canine teams to initiate a five-year strategy towards achieving 100 percent scanning on the southern border.
- 375 new CBP Officers above the request.
- $108 million specifically for opioid detection at international mail and express consignment facilities.
- $142 million for new aircraft and sensors to include one new large unmanned aircraft system and three multi-role enforcement aircraft.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – The bill provides $7.4 billion for ICE – $328 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. Within this total, the legislation includes:
- $78 million to hire over 400 additional law enforcement officers and support staff.
- $1.9 billion – an increase of $275 million above the requested level – for domestic and international investigations programs, including efforts to combat human trafficking, child exploitation, cybercrime, visa screening, and drug smuggling.
- $4.1 billion for detention and removal programs, including 44,000 detention beds, an increase 3,480 beds over fiscal year 2018.
Coast Guard – The bill contains $9.3 billion for the U.S. Coast Guard. The bill provides for a 2.6 percent military pay increase, and targets resources to improve readiness. Specifically, the bill includes:
- $7.6 billion for operations and training, military personnel costs, aviation and cutter hours, and maintenance of assets required to sustain readiness and response capabilities.
- $1.4 billion for modernization and recapitalization of vessels, aircraft, and facilities. This includes funding for the acquisition of the second Offshore Patrol Cutter, six Fast Response Cutters, an HC-130J aircraft, UH-60 recapitalization, follow-on costs for the ninth National Security Cutter, and facility improvements at multiple locations throughout the United States.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – The bill includes $7.3 billion for TSA, which fully funds Transportation Security Officers ($3.3 billion) and privatized screening operations at airports. The bill includes $20 million above the budget request for the purchase and installation of approximately 240 new carry-on baggage screening systems to improve detection capabilities at airport checkpoints. The bill also includes funding above the request to hire, train, and deploy 50 new canine teams to further enhance security and expedite processing time.
Cybersecurity and Protection of Communications – To combat increasingly dangerous and numerous cyber-attacks, the bill includes a total of $1.9 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate. Within this amount, $1.1 billion is provided to help secure civilian (.gov) networks and to detect and prevent cyber-attacks and foreign espionage. Funds are also included to enhance and modernize emergency communications capabilities and to continue the modernization of the biometric identity management.
Secret Service – The bill provides $2.2 billion for the U.S. Secret Service – an increase of $160.7 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level – to increase staffing levels and to ramp up for the 2020 campaign cycle. The bill continues support for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and increases funding above the request for cyber-crime investigations.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – The bill funds FEMA disaster response and recovery efforts at $7.2 billion. The legislation also includes $3.1 billion for FEMA grant programs, including:
- $538 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program – an increase of $31 million above fiscal year 2018;
- $661 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative – an increase of $31 million above fiscal year 2018 – including $50 million for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program;
- $700 million for firefighter assistance grants;
- $249 million for pre-disaster mitigation grants; and
- $262.5 million for flood mapping activities.
E-Verify – The legislation contains $132 million, the same as the President’s request, for E-Verify to help companies ensure their employees may legally work in the United States.
Science and Technology (S&T) – The bill provides $802 million for Science and Technology – an increase of $218.9 million above the requested level. The legislation rejects the proposed closure of the Chemical Security Analysis Center and the National Urban Security Technology Laboratory, restores proposed cuts to University Programs, and increases research and development funding by $186 million above the requested level.
Other Provisions – The bill includes several provisions to save taxpayer dollars and increase accountability at DHS. The legislation:
- Does NOT include an increase TSA passenger fees;
- Does NOT includes a redirection of Brand USA Travel Promotion fees; and
- Requires extensive reporting, including spending plans and benchmarks, to ensure funds are being spent appropriately and as intended.
For the complete text of the FY 2019 Subcommittee Draft Homeland Security Appropriations bill, please visit: https://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP15/20180719/108583/BILLS-115-SC-AP-FY2019-HSecurity-HomelandBill.pdf