DHS budget gets 1.2 percent cut under House GOP committee plan

The Homeland Security Department escaped major spending cuts under a budget package presented by the GOP-run House Appropriations Committee.

The Homeland Security Department would see its budget drop by $484 million next year under legislation offered by the House Appropriations Committee.

The committee, which is led by Republicans in the GOP-majority House, is the key committee developing spending legislation for the federal government. All spending bills must be approved in the full House and also be reconciled with Senate spending bills to become law.

The $39.1 billion DHS spending package for fiscal 2013 was to go before the panel's Homeland Security Subcommittee on May 9.

That amount represents a $484 million reduction—a 1.2 percent cut—from current levels and a decrease of $393 million from the president’s request, according to a news release from the committee.

The committee said it preserved all major programs while making targeted cuts. Committee Chair Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said the panel’s aim was to provide “critical resources” while also “trimming excess spending.”

The proposed spending bill funds high-priority programs including cybersecurity, border patrol agents, disaster relief, and state and local assistance.

It also offers reductions in the allocations for transportation security, Secret Service post-presidential campaign security and chemical security standards, among others.

For example, the Transportation Security Administration would see its budget drop to $5.1 billion, which is $422 million below current levels.The proposed cutbacks include a $61 million drop in the budget for TSA management overhead and a cap on full-time screening personnel at 46,000.

A number of DHS component agencies and programs maintained or increased their funding.

Customs and Border Protection would get $10.2 billion, $77 million above the president’s request and $9 million above current levels.That includes $700 million for automated systems, including $139 million for the Automated Commercial Environment.

CBP's allocation also covers $518 million for the border agency’s air and marine surveillance operations and procurement and $327 million for border fencing, infrastructure and technology. CBP’s National Targeting Center, which identifies known and suspected terrorists, would get $68 million, an increase of $16 million over fiscal year 2012.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement would receive $5.5 billion, including $35 million for the Visa Security Program and $78 million for the Office of Intelligence. ICE automated systems would get $232 million, including $5 million for the Office of Biometric ID management for an Arrival & Departure System.

The bill provides $1.8 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency preparedness grants to state and local agencies and $670 million for grants to fire departments.

The bill includes $749 million for cybersecurity, which is $20 million below the president’s request and $306 million above the current level. The total includes money for a new initiative for federal network security.

Other highlights of the bill include:

  • $317 million to the Office of Analysis & Operations, for intelligence analysis and coordination activities.
  • $242 million for the Office of the Chief Information Officer, including $117 million for salaries and $125 million for information technology equipment, software and services.
  • $192 million for the Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing System.
  • $191 million for the National Protection & Programs Directorate’s Office of Biometric ID Management.
  • $112 million for US Citizenship & Immigration Services’ E-Verify program.
  • $85 million for the Office of Health Affairs’ BioWatch program.
  • $54 million for FEMA automated systems.
  • $52 million for Secret Service information integration and technology transformation.
  • $50 million for Coast Guard automated systems

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