Friday, June 8, 2012

House Passes HR 5855 – DHS FY2013 Appropriations Bill

Last night the House passed HR 5855, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013 in a nearly party-line vote (234-182; 16 Republicans against and 17 Democrats for). I did not see any amendments that directly affected the CFATS program, chemical security, or cybersecurity, though I have not checked each of the many spending changes. There was one amendment that did address the TSA Surface Security Inspection program, but it was defeated in a bi-partisan vote.

TSA Inspector Funding

An amendment was offered by Rep. Turner (R,NY) that would have limited spending of TSA Surface Security Inspectors to $20M. According to Mr. Turner (Congressional Record; H3638):

“My amendment today seeks to limit the inspector program budget to $20 million, which would substantially reduce its size, and allow the saved money to be put forward in other more effective surface programs, such as canine detection units, particularly at bus and rail stations.”

This amendment was defeated on a roll-call vote of 101-314. There were 99 Republicans and 2 Democrats voting in the affirmative.

Critical Infrastructure Designation

The Terry (R,NE) amendment that I discussed briefly yesterday was never actually brought to the floor for consideration.

Spending Changes

There were a large number of spending change amendments offered and many were adopted. Most of them took the form of:

‘On page X, Line Y reduce the dollar amount by $XXXXXX and on page X2, Line Y2 increase the dollar amount by the same amount.’

Any funding increase had to be offset by a corresponding decrease somewhere else, so amenders had to find a program they didn’t like to steal from to improve funding for one of their pet programs. There were, to be sure, a number that just removed money and put it towards deficit reduction.

Tracking down each of these to determine their actual significance is time consuming at best. I’ll just wait for the enrolled version of the bill to be printed by the GPO and check for spending changes of interest there.

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