House GOP unveils $40B spending bill for Homeland Security

The House Appropriations Committee on Friday afternoon unveiled a nearly $40 billion bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through September.

The 98-page measure is the last of the 12 fiscal 2015 appropriations bills, and the House plans to consider it on the floor Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Congress must pass a new spending bill for DHS before Feb. 27 or the department could shut down.

“The funding in this bill is targeted to critical security and law enforcement efforts that keep our nation and people safe, and ensure the laws of the land are strongly enforced,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

The base bill, which provides an increase of $400 million above last year’s levels, excludes language that would defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which he announced in November. A GOP-sponsored amendment that would nullify those executive orders is expected next week.

Republicans are also expected to attach other amendments that would target the president’s previous actions to relax immigration laws.
One would roll back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), which DHS created in 2012. The program offers legal status to children brought to the United States illegally as long as they meet certain criteria.

Another amendment would disallow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from using user fees to implement Obama’s executive orders. The agency is self-funded through those fees and is not dependent upon congressional appropriations.

The amendments will likely be folded into the spending bill in the House, but those provisions could be cut in the Senate, resulting in a possible showdown over national security funding.

The White House has been adamant that President Obama won't sign a spending bill for DHS that reverses his executive actions.
Some of the base bill's other key provisions include increased funding for Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Secret Service.

The bill decreases funding from the last fiscal year for the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard and for the department’s research and development activities.

The DHS funding bill also includes $10.7 billion for Customs and Border Protection, an increase of nearly $119 million above last year’s level, and nearly $6 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an increase of $689 million.  

Those provisions are intended to boost border surveillance and to finance more detention beds for illegal immigrants, following last summer's border crisis. Officials struggled to handle an enormous influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America into the U.S.

In the wake of last year’s Secret Service scandal involving numerous security breaches, the bill provides $1.7 billion in funding to remedy those failures and to prepare and train officers for the 2016 presidential election. That's an increase of $80.5 million above the level enacted for fiscal 2014.

This story was updated at 3:30 p.m.