Legislative Activity

House Appropriations Committee

On June 11, the House Appropriations Committee favorably reported out of committee by voice vote the FY 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.  This bill funds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and related agency activities, such as border security, law enforcement, cybersecurity protection, counter-narcotics efforts, counter-terrorism activities, and disaster response. The bill provides $39.2 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, which is a decrease of $50 million from the FY 2014 enacted amount but an increase of nearly $888 million above the President’s FY 2015 budget request. The bill also fulfills the President’s request of allocating $7 billion in funding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency so that it can assist states and local government in disaster prevention and disaster response.

This Week’s Hearings

·        Wednesday, June 18: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on “The Role of First Responders.”

Executive Branch Activity

DHS Defends Immigration Policies

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson continues to respond to increased congressional criticism regarding the Obama administration’s procedures for handling the influx of unaccompanied minors. He appeared last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where some Republicans blamed the influx on lax enforcement by the Obama administration. Members of Congress representing Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico have also raised concerns about the strain on Customs and Border Protection patrols and Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. While Secretary Johnson pointed out DHS’ efforts to find alternative facilities, such as military bases near the border, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have objected to such a plan. Secretary Johnson is expected to face similar oversight committee pressure in the House over the next few weeks.