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Friday, February 3, 2023

Here’s What’s Included in Congress’ Border Funding Agreement

The conference committee report filed late Wednesday would avert a government shutdown while delivering far less than President Trump sought for a border wall.

The homeland security appropriations deal, which was reached by a bipartisan and bicameral committee, allocates $1.375 billion for 55 miles of Rio Grande Valley bollard fencing “with limitations to address community and environmental concerns” and previous barring of any concrete wall, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey’s (D-N.Y.) office said.

In addition to Homeland Security, the 1,159-page bill includes conference agreements for the other areas hit by the 35-day government shutdown: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.

Congressional leaders have indicated they want to fast-track the bill through both chambers before the shutdown deadline late Friday. Trump, who sought $5.7 billion for a border wall, has not indicated whether he’ll sign the legislation.

Some of the appropriations included in the package, per the House Appropriations Committee summary:

  • $14.9 billion for Customs and Border Protection, $734 million above the president’s initial budget request and $942 million above the FY 2018 enacted level
  • $564 million for the installation of non-intrusive imaging equipment in the in-bound lanes of southwest border land ports of entry
  • $415 million for humanitarian relief specifically for medical care, transportation, food and clothes; for humanitarian improvements to the McAllen Central Processing Center; and for a new El Paso CBP processing facility
  • $113 million for additional air and marine assets, to include three multi-enforcement aircraft, one above the request
  • $100 million for new border security technology
  • $77 million for opioid equipment and staffing for use at international mail and express consignment facilities
  • $59 million for 600 new CBP officers while encouraging CBP to use fee funding to hire up to 600 additional CBP officers for a total of 1,200 new officers
  • $7.6 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, $704 million below Trump’s request and $512 million above the FY 2018 enacted level
  • $30.5 million for ATD [alternatives to detention] family case management
  • $40 million for additional ICE staffing dedicated to overall ATD case management, particularly for asylum seekers
  • $7.4 million for additional attorneys and for courtroom expansion to assist in the backlog of immigration cases currently in the system
  • $1.9 billion for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  • $7.5 million for new HSI Victim Assistant Specialists and $44 million for new staffing to enhance opioid/fentanyl-related investigations and analyses
  • $12 billion total funding ($10.3 billion in discretionary funding) for the Coast Guard, $578 million above the request and $92 million below the FY 2018 enacted level
  • $4.9 billion in net discretionary funding for the Transportation Security Administration, an increase of $884 million above the president’s request and $5 million above the FY 2018 enacted level
  • $40 million for airport explosive detection system reimbursement
  • $16.6 billion in net discretionary funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an increase of $5.5 billion above the president’s request and $4.2 billion above the FY 2018 enacted level
  • Over $12 billion for disaster relief to help states, communities and citizens respond to and cover from disasters, as well as cost effective mitigation to reduce the risk from future disasters
  • $277 million for training, exercises and education for our nation’s first responders and emergency managers
  • $111 million above the request for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to address high priority cybersecurity and infrastructure protection vulnerabilities
  • $10 million in direct funding for Citizenship and Integration grants
  • $820 million to support Science and Technology programs

“When the Senate votes on the agreement, we’ll be voting to avoid a second partial shutdown and provide the certainty of a fully-functioning federal government,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the floor today. “We’ll be voting to deliver another down payment on the president’s commitment to securing our nation’s borders and keeping American communities safe. And we’ll do it free from the influence of poison pills that sought to derail progress and stifle compromise.”

“The agreement is a reasonable compromise. It provides additional funding for smart, effective border security. It does not fund the president’s wall, but it does fund smart border security initiatives that both parties have always supported, including increased security at our ports of entry and humanitarian assistance at the border,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “Most importantly, it will keep our government open.”

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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