Appropriations Committee Approves FY 2006 Homeland Security Spending Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee on June 16 unanimously approved the fiscal year 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. The bill recommends $30.8 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Homeland Security.

This amount is $1.2 billion more than President George W. Bush's FY 2006 discretionary spending request and $1.4 billion more than the FY 2005 enacted level, excluding emergency supplemental appropriations and $2.5 billion in advance appropriations for Project BioShield made available in fiscal year 2005.

The proposed budget significantly increases funding for border security initiatives, and increases research and development initiatives to prevent potential attacks using weapons of mass destruction. The legislation also focuses on ensuring that the Department of Homeland Security places increased attention on the management and resources.

"This bill demonstrates our strong commitment to continuing to shore up our national security and to ensure that we are focused on the emerging threats of today rather than addressing yesterday's problems," said Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. "This legislation focuses primarily on addressing the most significant weakness in our national security: our borders. We have provided $915 million over the Fiscal Year 2005 funding enacted level – including what is in the supplemental- specifically for border security and immigration and customs enforcement.

Specifically, said Gregg, the budget will provide funds to support 1,000 new border patrol agents, 300 new immigration investigators and 460 new detention and enforcement agents and officers.

The increased funding for border security comes at the expense of first-responder grant programs. Gregg said that funding was cut because states and communities have not spent $7 billion in funds from previous budgets.

"It's foolish to put more money into that system," he noted. The House's version of the spending bill gave first responders $3.6 billion. The Senate bill reduced the amount to $3.5 billion. The proposed Senate appropriations budget includes the following:

Departmental Management and Operations

A total of $646,824,000 is recommended to continue the operations of the Office of the Secretary, Office of the Under Secretary for Management, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer and Office of Inspector General. The funding for Departmental Management and Operations in FY05 was $602.9 million.

Security, Enforcement and Investigations:

U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US VISIT) – A total of $340 million is recommended to continue the development of the US VISIT system, which is level funding from the FY 2005 bill.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection – A total of $5,998,170,000 is recommended ($423 million more than the president's request) for securing borders, including:

  • $1,750,545,000 for border staffing between the ports of entry; including 1,000 new border patrol agents;
  • $138,790,000 for the Container Security Initiative;
  • $51,084,000 for the America's Shield Initiative;
  • $525,111,000 for air and marine operations across U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
  • $458,009,000 for automation modernization; and
  • $311,381,000 for construction along the border; including $55 million for the California border and $55 million for the Arizona border.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement – A total of $3,806,106,000 (the FY 2005 level was $3,536,228,000) is recommended for investigating and enforcing immigration and customs laws, including:

  • $1,343,790,000 for investigations and intelligence, including 300 additional immigration investigators;
  • $1,381,204,000 for detention and removals;
  • $678,994,000 for the Federal Air Marshals;
  • $487,000,000 for the Federal Protective Service; and
  • $50,150,000 for automation modernization.

Transportation Security Administration – A total of $5,055,187,000 is recommended for securing transportation, including:

  • $2,334,003,000 for passenger and baggage screener workforce;
  • $172,461,000 for checkpoint support;
  • $180 million for the procurement of explosive detection and trace systems, of which $50,000,000 is for the procurement and deployment of next generation explosive detection systems, including in-line systems;
  • $50 million for air cargo security;
  • $8 million for the safety and security of the Nation's railways;
  • $4million for monitoring and tracking trucks carrying hazardous materials; and
  • $74,996,000, for transportation vetting and credentialing.

The committee does not fund these activities under the president's proposed Office of Screening Coordination and Operations. Funding for these activities remain in TSA.

Research and development funding for next generation explosive detection systems and air cargo have been transferred to Science and Technology, as requested by the president; and

The committee does not include a presidential legislative proposal to generate an estimated $1.68 billion in passenger aviation fees.

United States Coast Guard – A total of $7,879,426,000 is recommended, including:

  • $5,459,246,000 for operating expenses;
  • $119 million, as request in the budget, for Reserve training;
  • $1,141,802,000 for acquisition, construction, and improvements to fund new assets and maintain old assets and facilities. This amount includes $905,602,000 for the Deepwater recapitalization project;
  • $15 million for alteration of bridges. The president did not request funding for this account;
  • $18.5 million for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation;
  • $1,014,080,000, as requested in the budget, for retired pay.

United States Secret Service – A total of $1,192,337,000 is recommended for the operations of the United States Secret Service, which is $17 million more than the FY 2005 funding level. This funding includes $5 million for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and $2.1 million for the service's forensic support costs associated with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Preparedness and Recovery:

Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness – A total of $3,492,846,000 is recommended for first responder grants and assistance, including:

  • $1,518,000,000 for state and local assistance grants;
  • $400 million for local law enforcement terrorism prevention grants;
  • $200 million for port security grants;
  • $100 million for rail and transit security grants;
  • $50 million for buffer zone protection plan grants;
  • $50 million for technology transfer;
  • $40 million for grants to States to implement the REAL ID Act of 2005;
  • $145 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium;
  • $30 million for demonstration training grants;
  • $615 million for firefighter assistance grants, of which $65 million is for SAFER Act grants;
  • $180 million for emergency management performance grants;

Counterterrorism Fund – $5 million is recommended for the counterterrorism fund to provide for unforeseen emergencies not budgeted for in the regular process.

Emergency Preparedness and Response – A total of $2,847,547,000 is recommended for emergency preparedness and response (EP&R) activities, including:

  • $203,499,000 for preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery to fund all operating expenses for FEMA programs including $30 million for the 28 strategically located Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams;
  • $216,441,000 for administrative and regional operations;
  • $34 million for the National Disaster Medical System; and
  • $2 billion for disaster relief.

Research and Development, Training, Assessment and Services:

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services – A total of $80 million is recommended for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, for the reduction of application processing backlogs.

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – A total of $282,358,000, $58,360,000 above the president's budget request, is recommended for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection – A total of $870,562,000 to identify and asses threats, map threat information against current vulnerabilities, issue warnings and take preventive action, including:

  • $126,592,000 for critical infrastructure outreach and partnerships for data sharing with infrastructure owners and operators;
  • $59,903,000 to identify critical infrastructure and their vulnerabilities, to assess risks identified, and to reduce vulnerabilities;
  • $91,399,000 for developing and implementing protective programs for critical infrastructures;
  • $18,145,000 to rapidly identify and characterize a potential bioterrorist attack;
  • $73,349,000 for cyber security activities; and
  • $142,632,000 for national security and emergency preparedness telecommunications activities.

Science & Technology – A total of $1,453,498,000 to support basic and applied research, development of prototypes, and procurement of systems to mitigate the effects of weapons of mass destruction including:

  • $384,300,000 for biological countermeasures including $10 million for the biosurveillance initiative;
  • $226 million for nuclear and radiological countermeasures;
  • $100 million to counter chemical warfare agents toxic industrial chemicals;
  • $33,862,000 for high explosives countermeasures;
  • $20.9 million for rapid prototyping;
  • $63.6 million for university programs;
  • $110 million for the counter-MANPADS program;
  • $16.7 million for cyber threat characterization, detection, and origination; and
  • $15 million for interoperability communications.
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