Hoeven: Committee Approves FY16 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

Senate Bill Funds Critical DHS Missions and Addresses Key Areas

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. Hoeven, who chairs the DHS Appropriations Subcommittee that crafted the bill, said the $47 billion measure addresses critical DHS missions and key security areas, including concerns about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Secret Service.

“Supporting the critical missions of DHS – whether it is aviation security, immigration enforcement, disaster response, counterterrorism activities, or any other mission – means getting the right mix of people and technology on the task,” Hoeven said. “We have worked very hard in a bipartisan way to achieve that mix in this important legislation.”

These priorities cover four key areas vital to protecting our nation:

  • Border Security: The bill includes robust funding for border security – providing for 21,370 Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents and 23,775 CBP officers; funding new technology, including $43 million for mobile surveillance systems and $44 million for two enforcement aircraft; and improvements to infrastructure, with $45 million for replacement fencing along the Arizona border.  The Coast Guard is strongly supported with the operating expenses needed to execute its mission, and nearly $1.6 billion dollars to support critical acquisitions.
  • Cyber Security: Cybersecurity is also a critical focus of the bill – increased funding is included to support protection of the Department’s infrastructure as well as for protection of Federal civilian systems and DHS information sharing efforts with the private sector and its partner agencies.  In total, the legislation provides $1.4 billion to DHS components to enhance cybersecurity.  Of that amount, $820 million is for the National Protection and Programs Directorate which is responsible for protecting the civilian-Federal networks, providing cyber-response team assets, and assisting States and the private sector with their cybersecurity efforts.
  • TSA and Secret Service: This bill holds the Transportation Security Administration responsible for improving security at our airports in response to recent covert testing by the Office of Inspector General. To address these challenges, the bill adds $12 million for screener training, $15 million for checkpoint security, and $2.5 million for the Federal Flight Deck Officer and Crew Training Program (also known as “armed pilots”) to improve training, to update procedures and to make technology enhancements at checkpoints.  Significant funding enhancements for the Secret Service are also included consistent with recommendations of the United States Secret Service Protective Mission Panel, as well as costs associated with the 2016 Presidential campaign season. These funding increases are provided to respond to recent incidents.
  • FEMA and Disaster Mitigation: The measure has strong support for disaster mitigation, flood mapping and rail safety. With natural disasters continuing to impact communities across the nation, the measure includes increased funding for mapping and mitigation programs. For each dollar spent on mitigation, studies show four dollars can be saved in disaster recovery.  The legislation includes $100 million, an increase of $75 million, for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program to help States and communities conduct planning and complete mitigation projects.  Furthermore, the bill provides $100 million, a $90 million increase, for FEMA’s flood mapping activities and directs FEMA to take local communities’ flood protection projects into account when mapping flood hazards and to coordinate the mapping process with the phases of large projects.  This increase will allow FEMA to map an additional 9,000 stream miles.  In total, $311 million is provided for flood mapping efforts.  The legislation also directs FEMA to work with States and locals to improve rail security when transporting crude oil by providing more comprehensive guidance, inspectors, and training for first responders.