Legislative Activity

House Appropriations Panel Approves Homeland Security Spending Bill, Scrutinizes “Sanctuary City” Policies

This week, the House Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2016 spending bill funding homeland security programs. The measure provides $39.3 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), $337 million below the amount enacted for FY 2015 and $2 billion less than the President’s request.

Debate over sanctuary cities dominated the Committee’s debate of the DHS measure. House appropriators adopted three Republican-led amendments responding to the death of a San Francisco woman shot by an immigrant in the US illegally. One measure adopted along party lines would block sanctuary cities from receiving certain homeland security funding grants, including those related to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Democrats criticized the amendment as limiting the ability of these cities to receive funding to fight natural disasters or to prevent terrorist attacks. Members of both parties supported a manager’s amendment containing provisions that would increase funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Criminal Alien and Fugitive Operations programs, to boost support for enforcement.

The House measure also withheld funding for implementation of the President’s proposed executive actions on immigration, and included a rider preventing any such funding until an ongoing federal injunction is lifted. The injunction originated as part of a pending federal case filed by a group of states to prevent implementation of the President’s proposals.

The homeland security spending bill is the final to be marked up by the House Appropriations Committee, the first time in six years that all twelve measures have been passed under regular order. However, movement on appropriations bills remains stalled in both chambers at this time.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, July 21: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “Oversight of the Administration’s Misdirected Immigration Enforcement Policies: Examining the Impact on Public Safety and Honoring the Victims.”
  • Thursday, July 23: The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security will hold a hearing titled “Sanctuary Cities: A Threat to Public Safety.”