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SPECIAL REPORT:  House FY 2007 Homeland Security Appropriations Report and California Implications — May 2006

[click here for printable pdf version]

Appropriations Reports Homeland Security Funding Bill With More for Ports and Borders, Flat Funding for Embattled First Responder Grants

             On May 17, 2006, the Appropriations Committee reported its FY2007 funding for the Department of Homeland Security. The bill provides $32.08 billion for HHS, which is $1.8 billion above the fiscal year 2006 enacted levels, and $1.065 billion above the President’s request.

             To enhance port, container and cargo security, the bill provides $4.185 billion, $448 million over the FY 2006 level. The bill includes mandated performance requirements to develop a strategy to double the amount of cargo currently inspected, screen 100% of cargo through the Automated Targeting System, and establish minimum security standards for cargo containers. The bill further requires HHS to maintain a 100% manifest review rate at all CAI ports; a 100% validation rate of all C-TPAT participants; and double the amount of cargo entering the U.S. screened for radiation.

             Included in the funding is $2.05 billion for Coast Guard port and waterway security operations; $1.69 billion for Customs and Border Protection cargo inspection and trade operations; $139 million for the Container Security Initiative, expanding the program to 58 foreign seaports; $70.1 million for C-TPAT, supporting 100% validation of over 6,070 certified partners; $178 million for radiation portal monitors; $40 million to support implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential; $15 million to increase port facility and vessel inspections domestically and overseas; $200 million for port security grants; and $23 million for Science & Technology’s Cargo Security Program.

             The bill provides $19.6 billion for border protection, immigration enforcement, and related activities, which is $1.6 billion over FY 2006. This includes $3.98 billion for the Secure Border Initiative, providing HHS with technology, personnel, and infrastructure to prevent terrorists and other criminals from exploiting U.S. borders and the immigration system. Highlights include: $2.33 billion for border security, adding 1,200 new Border Patrol agents, for a total of 13,580, but still 800 less than the 2,000 new agents authorized to be added annually; $4.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), adding 1,212 officers, for a total of 11,500; $1.29 billion for ICE custody management, adding 4,870 detention beds, for a total of 25,670; $273 million for transportation and removal of undocumented aliens; $200 million for 28 Fugitive Operations teams for a total of 80 nation-wide; $105 million for the Criminal Alien Program, including 40 new agents; $46 million for Alternatives to Detention; $362 million for the US-VISIT program; and $114 million to support immigration verification systems.

             The bill also provides $3.2 billion for first responders, including grants to high threat areas, firefighters, and emergency management. This is about 18 percent more than the President’s request, but about two percent less than in fiscal 2006. The Committee reports that since September 11th, 2001, and including funds in this bill, $37.4 billion has been provided to first responders –including terrorism prevention and preparedness, general law enforcement, firefighter assistance, airport security, seaport security, and public health preparedness. Highlights of the funding include: $1.165 billion for high-density urban areas, including $750 million for urban area grants, $150 million for rail security, $200 million for port security, and $65 million for other infrastructure protection; $545 million for basic formula grants; $500 million for firefighter grants and $40 million for the SAFER program; $400 million for State and local law enforcement terrorism prevention grants; $180 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG); and $339 million for First Responder training, exercise, and assistance programs.

             The bill maintains current law for all formula grants — no formula changes are proposed in the bill. Three programs noted above — the basic formula grants ($545 million), law enforcement grant ($400 million) and EMPG ($180 million) — are the primary programs using the widely criticized formula that gives small states an enormous financial advantage over more populous states (California receives just 8% of these funds). The total funding of $1.165 million for these programs is the same amount as is provided to the urban area program (often known as the Urban Area Security Initiative or UASI) that returns a much larger share to California.

             During markup, the Committee defeated two amendments, both by votes of 25-33. The first would have provided an additional $3.5 billion for border security, port security, aviation security, first-responders and disaster preparedness. The second would have provided $2.1 billion in emergency spending, mostly for border security.

             For further information on the bill, visit the Committee’s website at: .

[Supplementary Information]

House Considers 2007 Homeland Appropriations; Lengthy Agenda Delays Final Passage Until After Memorial Day Recess

             Despite working late into the evening on Thursday, May 25, 2006, the House of Representatives was forced to recess leaving unfinished its FY 2007 appropriations measure for the Department of Homeland Security and related agencies. Congress adjourned at midnight Thursday night for the Memorial Day recess and will return at 6:30 pm on June 6.

             Congress took up the Homeland Security Appropriations bill, H.R. 5441, on Thursday afternoon after a procedural motion was adopted by a vote of 217 to 195. During floor action, the House agreed by voice vote to an amendment by Rep. Martin Sabo (WI) to add $112 million to the Fire Grant program (which returns a low share of funding to California).

             Also agreed to were amendments by Rep. Bart Stupak (MI) to shift $5 million to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), as well as an amendment by Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA) to shift $50 million to provide security grant funding for intercity passenger rail, freight rail, and transit security. Whereas the Stupak amendment passed by a 4-to-1 margin, the Lynch amendment was closer, with 41 Republicans joining 183 Democrats to give the 225-197 affirmative result. Later, the House agreed to a Marshall amendment to increase USCIS employment verification program funding by $20 million. (All of these amendments were offset by reductions elsewhere in the bill, so they were revenue-neutral.) Many other amendments to the bill were rejected.

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