House Republicans Pass Homeland Security Bill that Leaves Communities Less Safe
WASHINGTON — During today’s House Appropriations Committee markup of the 2024 Homeland Security funding bill, House Democrats highlighted how the Republicans are squandering billions of dollars on misguided border measures while disregarding the threats presented by terrorists, transnational criminals, violent extremists, and natural disasters. House Democrats were united in their opposition, voting unanimously against the bill.
For 2024, the bill provides $62.8 billion for the Department of Homeland Security and an additional $20.3 billion for major disaster response and recovery. The legislation:
- Provides a false sense of national security, by spending billions on outdated and expensive border wall, leaving our ports of entry and interior Border Patrol checkpoints vulnerable to the trafficking of fentanyl and other illicit narcotics.
- Cuts necessary funding to manage the border safely and securely, putting our DHS workforce and our border communities at risk.
- Fails to protect our communities from violent extremists, underfunding programs that enhance regional preparedness and response capabilities, making our communities less secure.
- Weakens our national security through inadequate cybersecurity and infrastructure security investments, opening the U.S. to increased cyberattacks and foreign adversary influence.
- Leaves Americans vulnerable to the growing number and increasing severity of natural disasters by failing to deliver needed resources to mitigate the loss of life and property, combat climate change, and support climate resilience.
- Undermines the Transportation Security Administration workforce by unfairly implementing the pay restructuring we committed to last Congress.
“When it comes to the border, the bill relies on outdated strategies that we know do not work. For example, the bill would require $2.1 billion be rescinded and reappropriated for wall construction, a 14th century solution to a 21st century challenge,” said Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Henry Cuellar said. “The bill also misses opportunities to make smart investments to address urgent issues facing our country – such as providing more resources to counter the trafficking of illicit narcotics into our country, such as fentanyl and opioids.”
Congressman Henry Cuellar’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are here.
“House Republicans are once again proposing to spend billions of dollars on a misguided and ineffective border wall, rather than focusing resources where we need them most, like combating threats presented by terrorists, transnational criminals, and violent extremists; supporting the Homeland Security workforce; and advancing our cybersecurity posture,” Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) said. “We should be building off the bipartisan progress we made last Congress to help solve longstanding and emerging issues at the southern border. The bill misses important opportunities to combat the flow of illicit drugs like fentanyl through our ports of entry and Border Patrol checkpoints and provide funding for humane pathways and processes for those who require refuge in our country. I hope we can end this partisan charade of marking up Republican messaging bills soon and start working together to get this process completed on time.”
Congresswoman DeLauro’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are here.
Key provisions of the bill as passed by the full committee:
- Eliminates critical funding for CBP’s border management requirements, $2.4 billion below 2023 levels, and fails to fund a third Joint Processing Center.
- Guts funding for climate-change, climate-resiliency, and facilities transformation initiatives by over $748 million.
- Wastes over $3.7 billion on ineffective border security and immigration policies, while failing to address the ongoing fentanyl and opioid crisis and doing nothing to address the growing requirements at our ports of entry and interior Border Patrol checkpoints.
- Reverses our commitments to the TSA workforce cutting funding for workforce pay and collective bargaining initiatives by over $469 million from the request.
- Cuts requested funding to combat terrorism, extremism, and cybersecurity attacks by over $232 million.
- Slashes funding for humanitarian programs by over $796 million, including family reunification efforts, immigration detention oversight, the Citizenship and Integration Grant program, and refugee processing.
- Reduces funding for diversity and inclusion efforts by over $12.5 million.
- Mandates ICE maintain no less than 41,500 detention beds and requires all individuals on the non-detained docket enrolled into the Alternatives to Detention Program be on GPS monitoring program throughout the duration of their immigration proceedings without the funding to implement.
Provisions Targeting Underserved, Underrepresented, or Vulnerable Populations
- Section 222 prohibits the use of funds to provide necessary health care services for women.
- Eliminates a provision that protects potential sponsors of unaccompanied children from being deported.
- Section 223 prohibits the use of funds to provide necessary health care services for transgender persons.
- Section 545 prohibits the use of funds for Executive Orders related to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Restrictions that Weaken Our Defenses and Resiliency
- Section 540 limits the Department’s ability to counter disinformation campaigns, including from foreign adversaries who seek to undermine our democratic elections.
- Section 543 limits CISA’s ability to counter mis-, dis-, or mal-information efforts by domestic extremists and other adversaries who seek to cause harm to our critical infrastructure and our communities.
The text of the bill, before the adoption of amendments, is here. The bill report, before the adoption of amendments in full committee, is here. Information on Community Project Funding in the bill is here.