Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 24, 2008

Congress Moves to Fund Homeland Security

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Congress and HLS — by Jonah Czerwinski on September 24, 2008

The House will consider a large spending bill to bridge fund the federal government through March 6 with $39.9 billion for Homeland Security, which $2.3 billion more than the president requested and represents about a six percent plus-up over FY 2008’s $37.7 billion enacted.

The Homeland Security Appropriations bill once again rejects the President’s proposal to cut $2 billion from the homeland security grant programs, including assistance for State and local law enforcement and other emergency responders to prevent, prepare for, and respond to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other emergencies.

Indeed, the bill includes $4.2 billion for First Responder and Port Security Grant Programs, $2 billion above the President’s request and $24 million above 2008. Substantial increases are also in CBP, Border Protection, ICE, maritime security, aviation security, cyber security, and FEMA management, among others.

The bill cuts funding in some areas, too. For example, US-VISIT is losing $90 million of its request until DHS can produce required expenditure plans. DNDO, alays a target of Congressional scrutiny, gets $50 million below the president’s request due to continued procurement delays.

The House Appropriators take an addition step to identify key policy concerns they have going forward. These include the following:

Oversight: Requires DHS submit plans on how it will implement: Deepwater; the Security Border Initiative; National Cyber Security Initiative; Next Generation Networks program; US-VISIT; and the Automated Commercial Environment.

Federal Protective Service: Requires at least 900 FPS police to protect Federal buildings and requires GAO to review FPS needs after GAO found staff cuts left federal buildings vulnerable to crimes and terrorist attacks.

Principal Federal Official (PFO) Positions: Limits the appointment of PFOs during declared disasters or emergencies to eliminate confusion that can occur when these positions overlap with FEMA’s responsibilities.

DHS Personnel System: Prohibits DHS from implementing a new personnel system.

National Applications Office: Prohibits DHS from using satellites for other than existing purposes until DHS submits and GAO reviews an explanation of its legality. GAO recently raised questions about the strength of internal controls for DHS’ proposed approach.

US-VISIT Air Exit Program: DHS is required to complete two pilot programs before proceeding with its biometric air exit plan.

The president didn’t make out too badly though. He secured over $303 million in earmarked funds as part of this stopgap funding. You can see all the earmarks here.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

September 24, 2008 @ 11:24 am

Just hope the CR is timely and no shutdown.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 25, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

If my understanding is correct, a separate CR for DHS, DOD, and military construction will be completed while all other agencies are under a different CR. The DHS CR will run the full year. The other civil agencies for 6 months. As always I could be wrong.

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