Summary: FY15 DHS Appropriations Bill (S. 272)

Washington, D.C. – The fiscal year 2015 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill (S.272) provides a total of $47.8 billion, $1.2 billion more than the fiscal year 2014 enacted level.  Of this total, $46.32 billion is for discretionary programs, including $213 million for Coast Guard overseas contingency operations and $6.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund. After excluding these two adjustments, the net discretionary appropriation for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is $39.67 billion. 
Providing full year funding for the Department of Homeland Security is essential to securing the homeland. We are four months into the fiscal year and DHS is operating under its fourth continuing resolution. No business would succeed if it operated on one month budgets.
Funding uncertainty undermines our security. The alternative is the full year funding agreement introduced last night and summarized below.
Bill Summary
The recent events in Paris, Ottawa and Australia, the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the proliferation of foreign fighters that return home radicalized remind us that the threat of terrorism is ever present.  Individuals and terrorist groups abroad remain committed to attacking our homeland and we must remain vigilant against those threats.  At the same time, our nation faces an increasing number of homegrown terror plots, in which the plotters may be American citizens, legal permanent residents, or visitors that have been radicalized.   
We also face dire consequences from cyber intrusions and hacking from rogue governments, organizations and individuals. And the constant threat of intense natural disasters is not likely to decrease in the coming years.  In addition to all of these threats, last summer we were faced with a growing humanitarian crisis as thousands of unaccompanied children and families crossed our southern border to escape instability, as well as gang and drug fueled violence across Central America. While the number of migrants has decreased recently, it is quite possible that there will be another surge this spring.  This bill addresses these realities and ensures that other equally vital missions of DHS, such as enforcing our immigration laws, facilitating legitimate trade and travel, protecting our currency, interdicting illegal drugs and migrants and rescuing mariners in distress, are adequately funded. This bill supports DHS’ efforts to secure the nation from all of threats by funding five core mission areas:
  • preventing terrorism and enhancing security;
  • securing and managing U.S. borders;
  • enforcing and administering our immigration laws;
  • safeguarding and securing cyberspace; and
  • ensuring resilience to disasters.
Preventing Terrorism and Enhancing Security:
Guarding the United States against terrorism is the cornerstone of homeland security.  To do so, DHS focuses on: preventing terrorist attacks; addressing evolving threats to our maritime and transportation systems, as well as to the global supply chain; preventing the unauthorized acquisition, importation or use of chemical, biological, radiological and explosive materials; investing in cutting edge research to address chemical, biological, explosive and nuclear threats; and reducing the vulnerability of critical U.S. infrastructure to terrorist attacks and other hazards.  Every agency within DHS plays an important role in countering these threats. 
The bill provides $10.042 billion to the Coast Guard, of which $8.591 billion is discretionary spending and $1.451 billion is mandatory spending. When overseas contingency operations are excluded, the discretionary level is $226 million more than the request and $136 million less than fiscal year 2014. The Coast Guard is responsible for securing our maritime safety and is the only military organization within DHS.  Unlike military services in the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard is also a law enforcement and regulatory agency with broad domestic authorities.  Funding provided in this bill supports approximately 42,000 military employees, 230 cutters, 1,500 boats and 211 aircraft that protect more than 95,000 miles of shoreline.
The bill includes targeted operational funding to restore those cuts and provides a significant increase from the requested level for capital expenditures. 
The following key investments are included in the bill:
  • $627 million for the acquisition of the eighth National Security Cutter;
  • $110 million for two  Fast Response Cutters;
  • $20 million for the pre-acquisition work of the Offshore Patrol Cutter;
  • $95 million for a new C-130J aircraft;
  • $8 million to preserve a legacy heavy polar icebreaker;
  • $6 million for urgently needed upgrades to military housing;
  • $50 million for critical depot level maintenance of aging assets;
  • $7.8 million to restore a high endurance cutter proposed for decommissioning; and
  • $4.2 million for additional counterdrug surge operations.
The bill provides a total of $7.229 billion for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), $76 million less than the request and $136 million less than fiscal year 2014. This amount is reduced by current law offsetting collections and fees totaling $2.4 billion.  The bill includes $172 million for explosives detection technologies to screen passengers and their belongings at airports, $99.6 million for Secure Flight, which matches passenger data against portions of the Terrorist Screening Database and $790 million for the Federal Air Marshals.  The bill also supports 31 Visible International Prevention and Response Teams and nearly 1,000 explosives detection canine teams.  The bill also requires a multi-year technology investment plan and requires TSA to work with its industry partners to establish a stronger manufacturing base.
The bill provides $271 million for infrastructure protection within the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), the same amount as the request and $7.8 million more than fiscal year 2014.  Within this total is:
  • $64 million for infrastructure analysis, the same amount as the  request to ensure the nation’s critical power, water, transportation and manufacturing infrastructures are as resilient as possible;
  • $9 million for the Office of Bombing Prevention to advance training, analysis and awareness; and
  • $85 million to implement Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards, $4 million above the fiscal year 2014 level, to secure certain chemicals against use by terrorist.  NPPD is also directed to work with industry on the continued implementation of the program by balancing the needs of security with efficient business management. 
The bill provides $129 million for the Office of Health Affairs, $3.6 million more than the request and $2.6 million more than the fiscal year 2014 level.  Included in the total is $87 million to sustain the current operations of the biological sensors deployed throughout the United States.  No funding has been provided for the acquisition of the BioWatch Generation 3 because this developmental program was canceled on April 24, 2014.  The included level also provides funding for biosurveillance programs and chemical defense guidelines to promote early warning and situational awareness of high risk incidents.
The bill provides $300 million for the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility, the same level as requested and $104 million less than fiscal year 2014.  This facility will house research to prevent the accidental or intentional introduction of deadly animal diseases into the United States.  This funding level is the final segment necessary for construction of the facility and will permit DHS to fully leverage funding contributions made by the state of Kansas.
A total of $26 million, $5 million more than fiscal year 2014, is provided to strengthen DHS’ ability to safeguard and share classified information with its federal, state and local partners, and to help deter the unauthorized release of such information.  In the wake of past and recent public disclosures of critical national security information, such safeguards are vital to ensuring effective controls are in place to prevent the illicit removal and dissemination of classified information.
Securing and Managing the Border:
The protection of our nation’s land, air and sea borders from the illegal entry of people, weapons, drugs and other contraband while also facilitating lawful travel and trade is a vital mission of DHS, because the nation’s economic prosperity depends on it.  To do so, DHS focuses on three interrelated areas: effectively securing U.S. air, land and sea borders; safeguarding and streamlining lawful trade and travel; and disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal and terrorist organizations.  Examples of how this bill funds these efforts follow:
The bill provides $12.582 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $3 million less than the request and $299 million more than fiscal year 2014. This level:
  • Funds 21,370 Border Patrol agents, sustaining the increased levels approved in the fiscal year 2010 Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Act;
  • Sustains 23,775 CBP officers currently working at our 329 ports of entry to expedite the processing of tourists and trade at our air and sea ports, which is vital to our economy;
  • Directs $10 million for maintaining trusted traveler programs such as additional Global Entry kiosks, adding more mobile document readers, expanding the integrated traveler process and expanding activities at existing preclearance locations;
  • Provides $20 million more than the request for border surveillance technology and $42 million more than the request for air and marine activities, ensuring at least 95,000 hours of flight for patrolling our land and maritime borders; and
  • Gives significant attention to CBP’s responsibilities for collecting duties and tariffs as well as enforcing the antidumping and countervailing duty requirements of the international trade system. 
The bill provides $252 million for the Office of Biometric Identity Management, $472,000 more than the request and $25 million more than fiscal year 2014. This funding helps assure national security, public safety and the integrity of our immigration laws.  By sharing real-time biometric and identity data between the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense and State we can monitor who legally enters and exits the country.
The bill provides $308 million for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), $3 million more than the request and $23 million more than fiscal year 2014.  This amount includes $49 million for the purchase of human portable radiation detectors for DHS personnel, $19 million for the Securing the Cities program and $70 million for research and development of next-generation detection technologies.   
Enforcing and Administering our Immigration Laws:
In the area of immigration, DHS is focused on ensuring enforcement of U.S. immigration laws while streamlining and facilitating the legal immigration process.  To do so, DHS identifies and removes criminal illegal immigrants who pose a threat to public safety and targets employers who knowingly and repeatedly break the law.  This bill provides resources for these enforcement efforts, while also promoting adherence to worksite-related laws and immigrant integration.  Specifically, the bill provides $5.959 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), $945 million more than the request and $689 million more than fiscal year 2014. This funding:
  • Provides a total of $3.431 billion for detention and removal operations, $862 million more than the request.  This level provides appropriate immigration enforcement resources with $2.53 billion to support 34,000 detention beds and $110 million for the Alternatives to Detention program;
  • Additionally, $362 million is added to the requested amount for funding more than 3,000 family detention beds.  These funds are needed as a result of the large influx of families encountered crossing our border last year;
  • Provides $64.2 million more than the request for the transportation of unaccompanied immigrant children – often via commercial or charter aircraft – from DHS custody to the legally required shelters operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement within Department of Health and Human Services; and
  • Provides a total increase of $67 million to maintain current staffing levels for special agents and immigration officials, including the agents and officers previously hired in support of investigations on the Southwest border. The increase will also be used to hire additional special agents and mission support staff to enhance high priority investigations such as human trafficking and smuggling investigations, intellectual property rights violations and investigations into trade compliance and commercial trade fraud.  This builds on the recent success of ICE special agents who have seized more than $1 billion in currency and made more than 6,000 criminal arrests.
The bill provides $124.4 million in direct appropriations to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), $10 million less than the request and $10.5 million more than fiscal year 2014. This level:
  • Fully funds the $124.4 million request to maintain and improve the employment eligibility verification system known as E-Verify, which has now processed more the 35 million cases, a six-fold increase since the program began in 2007; and
  • Provides $10 million for immigrant integration grants through fees.
Safeguarding and Securing Cyberspace:
The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for securing unclassified federal civilian government networks and working with owners and operators of critical infrastructure to secure their networks through risk assessment, mitigation and incident response capabilities. To combat cybercrime, DHS leverages the skills and resources of its law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cyber criminals.  With cybersecurity threats evolving at an alarming rate, this bill provides resources to identify cyber attacks and probes, remediate against these threats and make our systems harder to strike.  There were over 63,000 security incidents in 2013 and 1,367 confirmed data breaches.  Individuals, companies and industries are all vulnerable. 
Of the $1.2 billion recommended for the National Protection and Programs Directorate’s Infrastructure Protection and Information Security Program, the bill provides a total of $753 million for cybersecurity protection of federal networks and incident response, $7 million more than the request and $39 million less than fiscal year 2014.  Included within this amount is:
  • $377 million for intrusion detection on civilian federal networks; 
  • $141 million to build on a new monitoring and diagnostics program that began in 2013 to better protect civilian federal networks through real time analysis of day-to-day activity; and
  • $15.8 million for cybersecurity education to train future cyber professionals.
Within the $1.666 billion included for the Secret Service, the bill provides $108 million for the Secret Service-directed cyber training for state and local law enforcement officials, including judges; continues the growing cooperation between the Secret Service and the FBI in cybersecurity; and maintains the Secret Service’s primary role in protecting U.S. financial systems in cyberspace.  In the last four years, Secret Service cyber investigations have affected over 4,900 arrests and prevented approximately $1.37 billion in fraud losses. 
Within the $5.959 billion provided to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, $163.7 million is to support 761 full-time equivalents (FTE) in a variety of cyber investigations, including counter-child pornography as well as funding to operate the cyber crimes center.
The bill provides $457 million for research, development and innovation within the Science and Technology Directorate, of which at least $75 million is expected to be spent on cybersecurity activities.  These funds will be used to support the development of next generation cyber defense technologies and transition them to federal, state and local operational end users.
Ensuring Disaster Resilience:
The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for coordinating a comprehensive federal effort to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other large-scale emergency.  DHS works with individuals, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations and federal, state and local partners to ensure a swift and effective recovery.  Key efforts focus on building a ready and resilient nation by increasing our capacity to stabilize and recover from a catastrophic event, providing training to our homeland security partners and leading and coordinating national partnerships to foster preparedness and resilience across the private sector.
The bill provides the requested $7.033 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, of which $6.4 billion is provided pursuant the Budget Control Act disaster relief adjustment.  This level is $813 million more than fiscal year 2014 and will support the estimated costs associated with an average disaster year as well as the costs of recovery from previous major disasters such as Hurricanes Sandy, Ike and Irene, along with major tornados, devastating floods and wildfires. 
The bill provides $934 million for FEMA salaries and expenses, $10 million more than the request and $12.6 million less than fiscal year 2014.  The decrease from fiscal year 2014 reflects a reduction in operating costs through streamlined business practices.  Included in the amount is $35.2 million for Urban Search and Rescue Teams which rescue and provide initial medical care of victims in large scale disasters.  The Emergency Management Assistance Compact receives $2 million so states can support each other’s needs before the federal government has to get involved.  This bill does not include proposed cuts to FEMA’s dam safety, hurricane and earthquake preparedness programs.  Further, it continues funding for the modernization of information technology systems which are critical to sustaining FEMA reforms since the Post-Katrina Emergency Management and Reform Act. 
The bill provides $1.5 billion for state and local preparedness grant programs, the same level as fiscal year 2014.  Instead, this bill continues to allocate funding in the same manner as in fiscal year 2014.  Included in the total is:
  • $467 million for State Homeland Security Grants, including $55 million for Operation Stonegarden;
  • $600 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative, including $13 million for Non-profit Security Grants;
  • $100 million for Transit and Rail Security Grants, including $10 million for Amtrak security;
  • $100 million for Port Security Grants; and
  • $233  million for education, training and exercises including:
    • $29.5 million for continuing training grants;
    • $20.6 million for the Emergency Management Institute; and 
    • $98 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium.
The bill also provides funding for the following programs:
  • $340 million each for the Fire Equipment Grant program and the Firefighter Hiring Grant program, $680 million total.  Additionally, the Secretary of Homeland Security may waive certain provisions of the firefighter hiring program, if conditions warrant;
  • $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants;
  • $25 million for Predisaster Mitigation Grants;
  • $100 million for Flood Mapping and Risk Analysis;
  • $44 million for the United States Fire Administration; and
  • $120 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.
Administrative Savings and Reforms:
In an effort to maximize resources for front line missions, the bill: rescinds $894 million from low priority programs; requires the Inspector General (IG) to report on non-competitive contracts; requires reporting to the IG on expenditures for conferences; limits travel to international conferences; requires the department to develop a plan to reduce wasteful and redundant international costs; allows for the decommissioning of eight Coast Guard patrol boats that have become too expensive to maintain, saving nearly $6 million; requires FEMA to update its methodology for providing federal disaster assistance; statutorily mandates expenditure plans for every major DHS office to promote congressional oversight and effective execution of appropriated funds; and requires all reports requested by the Appropriations Committee to be posted on the department’s website, except for those that may compromise homeland security or contain proprietary information.  These cuts are in addition to similar savings and over $693 million in rescissions contained in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2014. 
The Fiscal Year 2015 Agreement is better than a Continuing Resolution (CR):
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):
  • ICE will be $385 million below the level required to fund the statutory mandate of 34,000 detention beds at the actual per bed cost.  Based on current cost estimates, the fiscal year 2014 funding level only funds 29,663 detention beds.
  • No funding would be included for new family detention facilities in a CR.  In comparison, the fiscal year 2015 bill includes $362 million for about 3,000 new family detention beds.  The fiscal year 2014 bill only funds one family detention facility with 96 beds.
  • No additional funding is provided in the CR to hire additional investigators for anti-trafficking and smuggling cases to combat the influx of unaccompanied children. 
United States Secret Service:
  • Under a CR, no funding would be provided to address weaknesses identified after the September 2014 White House fence jumping incident. The bill includes $25 million above the FY 2015 request for additional staff, canine units, training, and physical security enhancements.
  • Sufficient resources would not be available under a CR to prepare and train for the next Presidential election campaign, or establish protective detail for former President Obama. The FY 2015 bill includes $25.5 million for these activities whereas CR has no funding.
Coast Guard:
  • Under a CR, the contract for the eighth National Security Cutter (NSC) will be delayed due to funding availability, which could result in an expiration of the agreed upon offer at the prime contractor and sub-contractor levels. This will subsequently lead to a delay in the delivery of NSC #8 that could result in a production break and ultimately translate directly into a Coast Guard operational gap.  The fiscal year 2015 bill fully funds the acquisition of NSC #8.
  • The In Service Vessel Sustainment (ISVS) project would be delayed under a CR.  Only $21 million is included under a CR instead of $49 million in the FY 2015 bill.  Work on 140-foot icebreaking tugs, 225-foot ocean-going buoy tenders, and Coast Guard’s training vessel (EAGLE) would be scaled back.  The Deep Freeze on the Great Lakes in 2014 cost the shipping industry $705 million and 3,800 jobs according to the Lake Carriers’ Association.  Upgrading the Coast Guard’s 140-foot icebreaking fleet is critical to dealing with these conditions.
Domestic Nuclear Detection Office:
  • Under a CR, aging nuclear detection equipment will not be replaced causing gaps in the field that may allow our enemies to smuggle a nuclear device or dirty bomb into the country.  The fiscal year 2015 bill includes $35 million above fiscal year 2014 for additional Human Portable Radiation Detection Systems. 
National Protection and Programs Directorate:
  • Critical upgrades to emergency communications infrastructure to ensure first responders and officials can make prioritized calls during a crisis would be delayed under a CR.  In comparison, the fiscal year 2015 bill provides $32 million above fiscal year 2014 for the upgrades recognizing that the lack of communications risks lives and is often cited as a failure in after action reports.

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