According to CQ, a key congressional staffer gave a top-level preview of the FY 2007 budget for the Department of Homeland Security at a meeting yesterday:
However, police, firefighters and local officials should not expect increases in the departmentâ€™s first-responder grants, G. William Hoagland, director of budget and appropriations for the office of the majority leader, told an industry symposium hosted by Equity International.
â€œMy friends in state and local government are not going to be pleased with me, but thatâ€™s where the restrictions are going to be placed,â€ Hoagland said. DHS as a whole could see a 3 percent to 5 percent funding increase in 2007, he said.
A 3%-5% funding increase basically means that DHS is now at a steady-state in terms of funding, when you control for inflation. This contrasts quite starkly with predictions 2-3 years ago that the DHS budget would see double-digit percentage increases for years to come, and implies that the Administration thinks that it is now spending the right amount on homeland security. I think that idea is open for debate. There are certainly examples of DHS spending money unnecessarily, but there are also, more importantly, a number of mission areas where DHS investment has until now been inadequate. A steady-state budget suggests that there will be little new investment in these mission areas.
The full budget request will be released on Feb. 7th. I’ll be analyzing parts of it in detail that day.
Update (1/26): More on Hoagland’s comments at GovExec, including the following:
Hoagland predicted that Congress and the administration will increase funding for border security by as much as 10 percent and funding for science and technology to defend against weapons of mass destruction by as much as 35 percent.