OMB Releases DHS FY 2015 Budget Request
On March 5, the Office of Management and Budget released President Barack Obama’s FY 2015 Budget Request, which recommends $38.2 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), approximately $1 billion less overall than the level of funding appropriated to the agency under the FY 2014 omnibus. However, agencies like Customs and Border Protection (CBP) received an increase of $187 million in discretionary funds for a total of$10.8 billion. With Congress debating immigration and scrutinizing DHS’ border security operations, the increased funding would allow CBP to increase the number of border patrol agents to 25,775. Similarly, the budget requests an increase of $124 million to expand the E-Verify program nationally.
HSGAC Leaders Support DHS Nominees
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Thomas Carper (D-DE) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-OK) have announced their support for two of President Obama’s DHS nominees: L. Reginald Brothers, Jr. to be DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology; and Francis Taylor to be DHS Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis. Like Secretary Johnson, both of nominees have U.S. Department of Defense backgrounds. In their recent nomination hearing, HSGAC members questioned Mr. Brothers on his plans to coordinate research and development across the agency, noting that DHS does not have jurisdiction over areas such as nuclear detection. After criticizing DHS’s fusion centers as inefficient and ineffective, Ranking Member Coburn encouraged Mr. Taylor to better coordinate state, local, and federal threat information.
House Passes Flood Insurance Bill
The House passed Rep. David Grimm’s (R-NY) Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 (H.R. 3370) by a vote of 306-91, which will indefinitely ease the National Flood Insurance Program’s planned mandated increases. House leadership delayed a prior vote on the bill to allow more time to reach a compromise with Democrats because they feared the bill did not have enough support to pass under suspension under the rules. Democrats, led by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), had expressed concern that certain homeowners would be over-charged in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s efforts to reach a nationwide average 15 percent rate increase. Next, the House and Senate must reconcile their bills, as the Senate bill only delays the rate increases for four years.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, March 11: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on FY 2015 Homeland Security appropriations. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify.
- Wednesday, March 12: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security will hold a hearing on the Arizona Border surveillance technology plan.
- Wednesday, March 12: The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on FY 2015 Homeland Security appropriations. DHS Secretary Johnson will testify.
- Wednesday, March 12: The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a full committee markup and consider nominations, including nominations for promotion in the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Thursday, March 13: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a full committee hearing on the FY 2015 Homeland Security Budget Request.