Homeland Security Appropriations Bill
The proposed fiscal year 2013 Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 5855) provides $39.1 billion in discretionary budget authority [BA]. The BA figure is $485 million or 1.2 percent, below fiscal year 2012 enacted levels and $395 million or 1 percent below the President’s request. This bill also provides an additional $5.5 billion in funding designated for disaster relief, an amount equal to the President’s request, which boosts the total discretionary budget authority provided by this bill to $44.6 billion. The Budget Control Act (BCA) provided a mechanism to increase spending above the limits or caps set for discretionary spending if Congress appropriated additional funding for disasters. It is up to Congress whether to use this adjustment procedure for disaster funding. The Appropriations Committee included $5.5 billion in budget authority and $274 million in outlays for fiscal year 2013 under the disaster designation for the Department of Homeland Security’s Disaster Relief Fund. Pursuant to the BCA, the allocation to the Appropriations Committee was adjusted from the $1.028 trillion set in the budget resolution to $1.033 trillion.
H.R. 5855 provides funds for the operations and activities of the Department of Homeland Security [DHS], including disaster relief assistance, border protection, and aviation security. Key elements include the following:
Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is the principal Federal agency charged with maritime safety, security, and stewardship. The bill contains $8.4 billion in discretionary budget authority for this account, $52 million above the President’s request. An additional $1.4 billion in mandatory authority is provided for the retirement pay of Coast Guard military personnel and Coast Guard Reserve personnel.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE]. ICE’s mission is to promote homeland security through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade, and immigration. This bill provides $5.5 billion for ICE, a decrease of $53 million from last year’s level, but $140 million above the President’s request.
Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA]. FEMA is principally tasked with managing and coordinating the Federal response to major domestic disasters and emergencies. The legislation funds FEMA at $4.4 billion, an increase of $145 million from last year’s level and $132 million below the President’s request. The bill includes an additional $5.5 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund – equal to the President’s request. This bill includes $350 million in firefighter grants, $315 million for Emergency Management Grants, and $136 million for biodefense.
Other Items of Interest. H.R. 5855 provides $1.6 billion for the Secret Service, a decrease of $51 million below FY 12; $112 million for Citizenship and Immigration Services, an increase of $11 million above FY 12; $255 million for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, a decrease of $16 million below FY 12; and $10.1 billion for customs and border protection about equal to FY 12’s level.