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House approves $38.9B fiscal 2014 DHS spending bill

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The House approved June 6 a spending bill funding the Homeland Security Department for the coming fiscal year with $38.9 billion in discretionary spending.

That amount totals $34.9 million less than the White House request and $617.6 million below the current year enacted level, an House Appropriations Committee statement says. The total amounts to $981 million more than DHS spending under sequestration, it adds.

The vote for the bill (H.R. 2217) was 245 to 182, with mostly Republicans voting yes and mostly Democrats voting no.

The bill faces a veto threat (.pdf) from the White House over the fact that the House and Senate have yet to reach a compromise over a fiscal 2014 budget framework. Both chambers have approved budgets with significant differences; conservative Senate Republicans have since blocked appointment of members of a conference committee.

The House budget framework would "hurt our economy and require draconian cuts to middle-class priorities," the White House says.

The veto threat also notes other objections with the bill, including a reduction to $404 million from a proposed $714 million for construction National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan. The House Appropriations Committee report says that's an incremental amount sufficient to start construction and keep it on schedule.

The White House also objects to $12.45 million reduction compared to the request for the Coast Guard National Security Cutter, down to $603.55 million. The committee report says the reduction is for "contract savings associated with the contract for the sixth NSC" and for deferral of "post-delivery activities that are requested unnecessarily ahead of need." The amount should include long-lead time material for the eighth NSC, the committee report also says. The White House says it has a policy against incremental funding and that the Coast Guard needs money for shore support of the sixth NSC.

The bill would fund overall Coast Guard acquisition at $1.22 billion, and amount significantly above the $951 million in the White House proposal--but also still far less than the approximately $1.46 billion annually the service has been appropriated in recent years.

In addition, the veto threat decries the lack of funding for the departmental headquarters consolidation project and a provision that would prevent the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services from approving immigration petitions from Brazilian citizens, calling the clause "punitive."

For more:
- go to the THOMAS page for H.R. 2217
- download the White House statement of administration policy on the bill (.pdf)
- go to a House Appropriations Committee statement on the bill

Related Articles:
House and White House setting stage for appropriations battle
House Appropriations proposes $1.22 billion Coast Guard acquisition budget
The president's 2014 Homeland Security budget request