President Obama’s proposedfiscal year 2017 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quickly drew fire from both Democrats and Republicans when announced in February. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, declared, “The administration’s release of its FY 2017 budget request for DHS reflects the reality that indiscriminate budget cuts – called for under the rigid budget caps – undermines national security and domestic priorities. Unfortunately, under this budget, it’s first responders who pay the price.”
Thompson expressed that, “The cuts to homeland security grant program funding are deep and far-reaching and are sure to be rebuffed by Congress. We can’t afford to slash these grant programs, as they are crucial to helping fund our state and local governments’ homeland security efforts. I will continue to fight to fund these critical programs.”
The president’s 2017 budget provides $40.6 billion in net discretionary funding for DHS. An additional $6.7 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund is requested separately from discretionary amounts, pursuant to the Budget Control Act of 2011. Resources are aligned to the department’s five primary missions.
Contributing writer Ken Chotiner notes in his special report on grants and funding that, as part of DHS efforts to support state, local, tribal and territorial partners, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced final allocations for a number of target fiscal year 2015 Preparedness Grant Allocations totaling more than $1.6 billion, annually, over the next three years – the first major grant funding initiative awarded since 2002.
“As a result of these two grant initiatives,” Chotiner writes, “DHS has awarded more than $40 billion since their inception.”
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said, “The president’s FY 2017 budget request … ignores the spending agreement made between Congress and the White House last fall.
He added, “The president’s budget request does not reflect the fact that we face the highest terror threat level since 9/11. While the budget calls for a number of necessary security enhancements, it still falls short where we need it most.”
Read the complete report in the Feb/March 2016 issue of Homeland Security Today.