The House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee on Wednesday morning approved a $49.7 billion spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security in fiscal year 2020 with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed, and the top GOP official on the full committee warned of another potential government shutdown if the bill that goes to President Trump excludes funding for construction of physical barriers on the southwest border.
A draft of the bill released on Tuesday recommends cutting the entire administration request, $5 billion, for additional wall construction on the border, and would rescind another $601 million appropriated in FY ’19 for border barriers, an amount equal to what the Trump administration said it will use from the Treasury Department’s forfeiture fund to build more barriers.
“Just a few short months ago, we were convening a conference to close out the issues with the fiscal year 2019 Homeland Security bill and end an unprecedented government shutdown,” Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, said in her opening remarks during the subcommittee markup. “It was quite clear during those negotiations that in order to get the president to sign the bill, funds would have to be included for construction along our southwest border. The final conference report, enacted in February, addressed those concerns but unfortunately the bill being considered today falls seriously short. This could set up us up for yet another government shutdown.”
The elimination of the wall construction funds, combined with no new funding for additional Border Patrol agents and Border Patrol Checkpoints, and a $1.1 billion cut to the president’s request for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, all for enforcement and removal operations in the subcommittee’s bill forced Republicans to vote against sending the measure to the full committee, which will take up the DHS appropriations bill sometime next week.
“Unfortunately, there are places where we disagree and those disagreements respectfully are vast and in its current form the minority cannot support this bill,” Rep. Charles Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), ranking member on the subcommittee, said in his opening remarks.
Where Democrats and Republicans agree on DHS spending in the bill is around plus-ups for the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Secret Service, and grants and training funds administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for state and local governments and agencies, Fleischmann and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), subcommittee chairwoman, said.
“The bill supports the broad array of homeland security missions, from protecting air travel and our territorial waters, to helping state and local governments prepare for terrorism threats and disasters, to securing our cybers security systems and physical infrastructure,” Roybal-Allard said in her remarks. “It also takes a balanced approach to border security and immigration enforcement, including new efforts to protect the dignity and safety of every person in U.S. government custody.”
The bill also would increase spending on border security technology for Customs and Border Protection and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations unit.
No amendments were offered during the markup.
The committee has only released a summary of the bill that includes some of the spending provisions.