Following the House spending measure marked up last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday approved $41.3 billion in Homeland Security spending. The Senate version provides DHS $40.1 billion in discretionary spending and $1.2 billion in mandatory funds, amounting to an increase of $2.5 billion more than the Bush requested. This is an initial read-out on the bill; more to come later.
The Senate bill also allocates $318.5 million for cyber security, which represents $108 million more than fiscal 2008 and about $25 million more than White House requested.
The Coast Guard would receive $9.2 billion, $145 million more than the president’s request.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would receive $7.4 billion under the Senate Appropriations proposal, about $2.1 billion more than Bush requested.
In addition to increasing funds for first responders, the bill appropriates $11.2 billion, about $381 million more than in fiscal 2008 and $254 million more than the president’s budget request, to Customs and Border Protection. Specific line items include:
• $442.4 million to hire an additional 2,200 Border Patrol agents, bringing the total to 20,019 by the end of fiscal 2009.
• $775 million for border fencing, infrastructure and related technology.
• $403.2 million for construction of Border Patrol facilities and repairs to land border ports of entry.
• $528 million for aerial and marine operations and procurement.
CQ Homeland Security notes that Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she would probably introduce an amendment to the bill requiring DHS verify both the arrival and departure of foreign visitors under the Visa Waiver Program.