A proposed spending bill released by House appropriators on Tuesday would provide $52.8 billion for the Department of Homeland Security in fiscal year 2022, just shy of a 2 percent increase over FY ’21 funding levels, but the recommendation would add to the Biden administration’s request in several areas, including the Coast Guard and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
The House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee that oversees DHS will markup the spending bill Wednesday morning. The full committee will markup the bill on July 13.
“This bill makes historic investments in cyber and infrastructure security, helps communities combat domestic extremist violence, expands the reach of the Coast Guard in the Arctic and the maritime drug and transit zones, and supports the FEMA response workforce as climate change makes natural disasters more frequent and severe,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the subcommittee, said in a statement.
The subcommittee is recommending $13.2 billion for the Coast Guard, $301.3 million more than requested and $303.9 million above FY ’21 levels. Most of the increase, about $200 million would plus-up the request for the acquisition account, including an extra $108 million for the HC-130J aircraft program to buy a maritime patrol aircraft what wasn’t sought by the administration.
The bill would fully fund the $597 million request for the offshore patrol cutter (OPC), which will cover construction of the fourth medium-endurance cutter, long-lead time materials for the fifth, and award of the Stage 2 detail design and construction contract. Eastern Shipbuilding Group is the prime contractor for the first four OPCs but the Coast Guard is recompeting the program for hulls five through 15. The service ultimately plans to buy 25 OPCs.
The subcommittee would also fund the service’s $170 million request to purchase long-lead time materials for the third polar security cutter (PSC), a new heavy icebreaker that is under contract to VT Halter Marine. The company is expected to begin construction on the first PSC later this year, about a year behind schedule.
The operations and support (O&S) account, which fund Coast Guard readiness, would receive $9.1 billion from the House appropriators, $118.3 million more than requested. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz has been pushing hard for O&S increases, saying that the service can be more effective in carrying out operations if Congress consistently provides 3 to 5 percent annual increases to this account.
The Biden administration is already requesting nearly $536 million more for O&S than Congress enacted in FY ’21.
The budget figures released by the House Appropriations Committee are contained in a summary of the bill. More program detail is expected when the committee releases report language on July 12, one day before it markups the bill. Senate appropriators haven’t scheduled their markup of the DHS bill.
The subcommittee is also proposing $2.4 billion for CISA, $288.7 million more than requested and $397.4 million above the FY ’21 enacted level. CISA is already chewing on an additional $650 million that Congress provided the agency earlier this year as part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Of the proposed increase by House appropriators, $186.7 million would be fore cybersecurity, $34 million for emergency communications, $21.1 million for infrastructure security, and the rest for risk management operations, stakeholder engagement, integrated operations, and mission support.
The pending subcommittee markup isn’t without its bill payers. The panel is proposing $14.1 billion for Customs and Border Protection, $456 million less than requested. As expected, there is no funding proposed for a border wall and the proposal would rescind $2.1 billion in prior year appropriations for physical barriers.
However, the panel is recommending increases for border security in the area of technology, $132 million more than requested. The increases include $50 million more than requested for both non-intrusive inspection (NII) technology and border technology, $45 million for innovative technology, and $10 million for port of entry technology.
The administration is requesting $54.3 million for technology to help secure the borders between ports of entry. The administration also requested $167.3 million for NII systems, which have enjoyed robust funding for the past few years.
Funding for the Transportation Security Administration by the committee is proposed to be $8.6 billion, $303.9 million higher than FY ’21 and level with the request, while the recommendation for Immigration and Customs Enforcement is $7.9 billion, $19.5 million below the request.
The subcommittee would also boost funding in several other areas above the requested amounts including $123.9 million more for DHS management, $10 million more for the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, $7.5 million more for the Science and Technology Directorate, and $5 million more for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The panel provides $21 million for the Office of Biometric Identity Management’s Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology program, $25 million less than requested due to schedule delays.
Republicans are likely to oppose the Democrat’s proposed DHS funding bill largely because there is no funding for the border wall.