Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 15, 2008

House Moves on DHS Funding for FY09

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Events — by Jonah Czerwinski on June 15, 2008

Last week, Chris Strohm at GovExec reported in a story that House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. David Price, intends to give priority to cybersecurity in homeland spending bill.

DHS has requested nearly $300 million for its role in the Cyber Security Initiative. Price has said that his panel’s legislation is on pace to be the first spending bill to move through the House. He believes most spending bills will make it through the House before the August recess but then face “formidable” obstacles in the Senate and with the White House. More likely than not, he said, Congress will have to pass an omnibus appropriations bill before a new administration comes into office.

By last Wednesday, Price’s Committee had concluded its mark-up of the DHS appropriations bill. As chairman, Price described the thrust behind his Committee’s treatment of the President’s budget request as corrective.

“The first objective guiding the allocation of funding in the bill was to correct known funding deficiencies and shortfalls, which were substantial,” according to his statement

The Subcommittee mark reverses the President’s proposal to cut funding for first responder and port grant programs by $2 billion, or 49 percent. The mark also plusses up funding for border agents, explosive detection, and the following changes:

• $950 million for State Homeland Security grants, the same as last year, and $750 million above the President’s proposed funding level

• $850 million for Urban Area Security Initiative grants, $30 million above last year and $25 million more than the President requested

• $400 million for Transit Security Grants, the same as last year, and $225 million more than the President’s budget request

• $800 million for Fire Grants, $50 million more than last year, and $500 million more than what the President proposed

• $315 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants, $15 million more than last year, and a $115 million increase above the President’s budget

• $400 million for port security grants, the same as last year, and $190 million above the President’s budget

The President proposed no dedicated funding for other programs of interest to the Committee, which restored funding for the following

• $50 million for the Metropolitan Medical Response System

• $50 million for REAL ID grants

• $50 million for Interoperable Communications Grants

• $35 million for Emergency Operations Centers

• $60 million for Operation Stonegarden

The Subcommittee mark also reduces or funding in some areas. For example, funding for an air exit component of US-VISIT will wait until completion of at least two pilot tests, one involving the Department’s current proposal, which would rely on the airlines to collect biometric data at check-in counters, and a second pilot in which DHS would be responsible for capturing exit biometrics at departure gates.

The bill also withholds $1.4 billion for the Secure Border Initiative, the Deepwater program and the Cyber Security initiative until further planning for these programs is in place.

UPDATE:
Rep. David Price (D – NC), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, will speak on June 23 at the Center for American Progress about the DHS appropriations bill. At the event, Price is also expected to comment on steps the next administration “should take to restructure and reform” DHS, according to the invitation. Please see details below about the event on the 23rd.

Chairman Price will be introduced by Scott Lilly, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Action Fund.

When: Monday, June 23, 2008, 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Cost: Admission is free.

Where: Center for American Progress Action Fund
1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005

Map & Directions
Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to McPherson Square or Red Line to Metro Center

RSVP for this Event here.

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1 Comment »

Comment by Vectorpedia

June 16, 2008 @ 9:37 am

Lets hope the House moves quickly on passing this important bill

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