A $47.09 billion Fiscal Year 2016 appropriations bill was passed out of the Senate Subcommittee on Homeland Security Appropriations which is $765 million above the FY 2015 enacted level, with a “new focus to setting goals and assessing results for the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] and its agencies,” the subcommittee announced. “The measure provides significant increases for Customs and Border Protection, the US Coast Guard and hazard mitigation activities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
It also emphasizes funding critical missions including border security, immigration enforcement, transportation security and cybersecurity.
“This bill supports a wide range of critical operations at DHS to secure our nation, from mitigating the impacts of natural disasters to securing our borders and airports,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. “Further, we address the deficiencies in some of DHS’ agencies by making important investments in training, technology and improved procedures, while also requiring new measures and performance evaluations to ensure future accountability and results.”
Hoeven said, “This legislation is the result of a close, bipartisan effort. We have worked hard to include the input of all our committee members, and I thank them for their contributions.
Highlights of the Senate FY 2016 homeland security appropriations bill.
The bill provides $47.09 billion for DHS, $765 million above the FY 2015 enacted level and $1.02 billion below the President’s budget request, to fund DHS missions including border security, transportation security, immigration enforcement, and cybersecurity, among others.
Customs and BorderProtection – The bill contains $11.08 billion for CBP, an increase of $385 million above the FY 2015 enacted level. It would fully support 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 23,775 CBP officers and intelligence and targeting system enhancements. It also includes funding for recapitalization of non-intrusive inspection equipment, replacement and maintenance of border fencing, procurement of additional mobile surveillance systems and other situational awareness technology, two multi-role enforcement aircraft and unmanned aerial system capabilities.
Immigration & Customs Enforcement – The bill includes $5.81 billion for ICE, $143 million below the FY 2015 enacted level. It continues support for enhancements provided in FY 2015 and includes funding for 34,000 detention beds, additional teams targeting at-large criminal aliens and those who overstay their visas and for human trafficking and other domestic and international investigative activities.
Transportation Security Administration – TSA would be funded at $4.72 billion, $63 million below the President’s budget request. The funding makes targeted investments in training and checkpoint security following recent testing by the DHS Inspector General. Specifically, the bill includes an additional $13 million for screener training, $24 million for checkpoint support and $2.5 million for Federal Flight Deck Officer and Flight Crew Training Program.
US Coast Guard – The bill contains $10.33 billion, an increase of $496 million above the FY 2015 enacted level. This funding level, which reflects an increase in operating expenses, would support “timely response” from fixed-wing Search and Rescue aircraft (i.e., fixed wing “Bravo-0”), maintaining rotary wing air facilities and providing incentive pay for hard-to-fill billets. This bill also provides “necessary increases for acquisitions, including funding for the ninth National Security Cutter and continuing activities associated with the Offshore Patrol Cutter, the new icebreaker and multiple sustainment offices such as the C-130J and HH-65.”
United States Secret Service – USSS would be funded at $1.92 billion, an increase of $258 million above the FY 2015 enacted level. This increase would fully support activities associated with the 2016 campaign, the next former presidential security detail and restores grant funding and support to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The bill also would fully allocates funding for recommendations from the Protective Mission Panel, although Congress has deferred funding on the White House Mock Up until plans and final costs can be assessed.
National Protection and Programs Directorate – The bill would provide $1.638 billion, an increase of $135 million above the FY 2015 enacted level. This funding includes $1.45 billion in fees for the Federal Protective Service. Cybersecurity efforts, including protection of civilian federal networks, would also be fully supported at $830 million, as is $16 million in cybersecurity pay reform. Additional activities are funded, including the Office of Bombing Prevention, priority communications upgrades so that designated calls can be placed on the most currenttechnology during disasters and emergencies and an upgrade to the DHS biometric identification system.
Office of Health Affairs – The bill contains $123 million for OHA, $6 million below the FY 2015 enacted level. Included in the total is $83 million for the BioWatch program. This amount will sustain current efforts and provide for recapitalization of equipment.
Federal Emergency Management Agency – The bill includes $7.37 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, of which $6.71 billion is pursuant to the Budget Control Act. The bill also provides $929 million for FEMA salaries and expenses which includes grants systems modernization, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and Urban Search and Rescue Teams. The bill includes robust support for state and local first responders and emergency management personnel, providing $2.53 billion in the following grant programs:
- $467 million for State Homeland Security Grants, including $55 million for Operation Stonegarden;
- $600 million for Urban Area Security Initiative grants, including an increase to $25 million for the non-profit set-aside;
- $100 million each for Port and Transit Security grants;
- $680 million for Fire and SAFER grants;
- $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants; and
- $98 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium.
The committee said the bill “also strongly supports hazard mitigation programs,” saying, “For every $1 invested in mitigation, $4 can be saved in disaster recovery. For that reason, $165 million above the FY 2015 enacted level amounts are recommended in mitigation programs, including $190 million for Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Assessment Program and $100 million for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.”
US Citizenship and Immigration Services – The bill contains $120 million in appropriations for E-Verify, and requires an analysis of the costs and timeline necessary to make use of the system permanent for employers.
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – Would be funded at $246 million. This amount includes funds to complete prior year student-level increases while sustaining current instruction.
Science and Technology Directorate – The bill includes $765 million for S&T. A total of $39 million is provided to maintain all current Centers of Excellence within University Programs, an increase of $8 million from the request.
The Domestic Nuclear Detection Office – The bill contains $320 million for DNDO, an increase of $12 million above The FY 2015 enacted level. It supports continued research and development activities, Securing the Cities and additional resources for the purchase of new handheld radiation detection systems.
Departmental Management and Operations – The bill includes $1.1 billion for the department, a $39 million increase above the FY 2015 enacted level and increases support for critical information technology security measures, information-sharing enhancements and a $16 million increase to the Office of the Inspector General to bolster audit and oversight activities. In addition, a general provision includes $212 million for the DHS headquarters consolidation at St. Elizabeths in Washington, DC.
The appropriations bill also includes “extensive direction regarding metrics and performance evaluation, holding the DHS accountable for operational outcomes associated with the included investments. Not only should this information be available to assist the committee in its budgeting and allocation decisions, but the American taxpayers should know what results they are getting for their investment in security.”
Other oversight measures include:
- Requiring the department to submit reports on biometric exit implementation and visa overstays;
- Requiring the department to submit spending plans and better details in budget justification;
- Requiring the department to report conference spending to the Inspector General and limiting the use of funds for certain conferences; and
- Requiring the department to link all contracts that provide award fees to successful acquisition outcomes, and prohibiting funds to pay for award or incentive fees for contractors with below satisfactory performance.