Cochran Encourages Debate on FY2015 Homeland Security Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, today encouraged the Senate to begin debate on legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security, including debate on the executive actions taken by President Obama to weaken enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.
Speaking to the Senate on Wednesday morning, Cochran said the Senate should not shy away from a full debate on a funding bill that is critical to ensuring the security of the nation, even if it means embarking on a contentious debate over whether to undo the President’s effort to allow millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the United States.
“The need to fund the Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of the fiscal year should not be in question. We know that we are living in a complex world with ever-changing threats to our security. The Department created specifically to combat those threats will operate better and more efficiently with a full year funding plan that reflects updated spending priorities. I’ve heard no Senator dispute that,” Cochran said.
Short-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security expires Feb. 27. The appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives (HR.240) and sent to the Senate would fund FY2015 activities of the Department and its agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency and the components responsible for enforcing border security.
The Senate on Tuesday, and again today, failed to reach a 60-vote threshold to begin debate on HR.240, based largely on Democratic opposition to House-passed amendments to preclude the President from implementing his unilateral actions to relax U.S. immigration enforcement laws.
“Given the timing and breadth of the President’s actions and the challenge to congressional authority that those actions represent, it can come as no surprise that they provoked a congressional response,” Cochran said. “I am speaking to remind Senators of the urgent and important need we have for the adoption of funding for the Department of Homeland Security and other provisions that this bill contains.”
The following is Cochran’s floor speech on the importance of debating and passing the FY2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill:
Mr. President, I was very disappointed yesterday that the Senate did not vote to proceed to consideration of the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. I hope that we will have an opportunity to reconsider that vote and we will agree to take up the bill.
The need to fund the Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of this fiscal year should not be in question. We know that we’re living in a complex world with ever-changing threats to our nation’s security. The department that we created specifically to combat those threats will operate better and more efficiently with a full-year funding plan that reflects updated spending priorities. I’ve heard no senator dispute that.
The leaders of the Homeland Security subcommittee, both Democrat and Republican, put a great deal of effort into drafting this measure.
The bill provides $10.7 billion Customs and Border Protection, an increase of $119 million over fiscal year 2014. This amount will support border, infrastructure, technology needs, roads, air and marine assets, and higher levels of personnel, including border patrol agents and customs and border patrol officers.
The bill provides nearly $6 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an increase of 13 percent.
The bill provides increased funds to identify, apprehend, and remove criminal aliens, and it provides increases for investigations to help combat human trafficking. Cybercrime, child exploitation, and drug smuggling, and the bill provides support for the Secret Service and congressional oversight, including $25 million to address security needs at the White House complex.
The bill provides more than $10 billion for the coast guard. This includes additional resources to continue the recapitalization of the Coast Guard fleet.
The bill provides funding for the Disaster Relief Fund. When disaster strikes, it's important that the disaster relief fund contains the resources necessary to support an effective response.
The bill also includes House amendments designed to reverse the President’s unilateral actions on immigration enforcement. But given the time and breadth of the President’s action and the challenge to congressional authority that those actions represent, it can come as no surprise that they provoked a congressional response.
So, Mr. President, I am speaking to remind Senators of the urgent and important need we have for the adoption of funding for the Department of Homeland Security and other provisions that this bill contains.
So I urge my colleagues and the leadership to help ensure that we move the Senate in the direction of early passage, after thorough consideration of the provisions in this bill.
Next Article Previous Article