The House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee this morning will mark up a $41.1 billion discretionary spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in FY ‘17, $432 million above the Obama administration’s request and $100 million below what Senate appropriators have agreed to.
Unlike the Senate bill, the House appropriators don’t provide funds to begin long-lead material purchases for a 10th Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC), which the administration did not request.
Last year Senate appropriators included funds for a ninth NSC and House appropriators didn’t in their initial markup of the FY ’16 DHS bill, but in the final appropriations bill sent to the president the House agreed to the Senate’s position. The Coast Guard’s official program of record is for eight NSCs, which are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII].
House appropriators in the FY ’17 DHS bill do include funding for a new Polar icebreaker in the Coast Guard’s acquisition account, although the exact amount of funding for the ship hasn’t been released yet. Senate appropriators provided $1 billion for the new icebreaker in their version of the defense bill.
In total, the House appropriators recommend nearly $1.3 billion for the Coast Guard’s acquisition account, $140 million more than requested, with funding to begin the new icebreaker, acquire an Offshore Patrol Cutter, six Fast Response Cutters (FRC) built by Bollinger Shipyards, and an HC-130J maritime patrol aircraft built by Lockheed Martin [LMT]. Senate appropriators also provide nearly $1.3 billion for Coast Guard acquisition in FY ’17, including six FRCs.
The House bill also provides $1.1 to the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) for cyber security funding to protect federal civilian networks, prevent and detect cyber attacks, and enhance and modernize emergency communications.
DHS last week affirmed a $1 billion contract it awarded to Raytheon [RTN] last September to provide support in the protection of federal civilian computer networks.
In all, the draft bill provides $1.8 billion for NPPD, the same as the Senate version, and also includes funds to upgrade the department’s biometric storage and matching system.
For the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the House bill recommends $7.6 billion, $21.8 million more than requested and $163 million more than in FY ’16. The amount is $100 million less than the Senate recommends.
The House appropriators say their bill provides full funding for Transportation Security Officers, privatized screening operations, and passenger and baggage screening equipment. Nearly $20 million in extra funding is included to hire, train, and deploy 50 more canine teams to further expedite processing times at aviation security checkpoints.
The bill denies an administration proposal to increase TSA passenger fees by $880 million and does condition funds for transportation security equipment until a full acquisition plan and justification are provided.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would receive $11.2 billion in discretionary appropriations under the House bill, same as the Senate, representing a $158 million increase over FY ’16 and about $400 million less than requested.
The House appropriators say their bill supports 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 23,871 CBP officers, the “largest staffing totals in history.”
“This bill secures our border, funds detention operations, and provides critical funding to protect our cyber networks,” Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), chairman of the House subcommittee, said in a statement. “In addition, it directs the Transportation Security Agency to conduct a critical assessment of its operations and requirements to handle increased passenger traffic while enhancing aviation security. It also includes steps to block the president’s attempts at rewriting our laws through executive order, and instructs our agencies to uphold the law of the land.”
The bill fences 20 percent of funds from all DHS headquarters staffing accounts until budget justification information is provided.