Providing for Consideration of H.R. 2360, Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2006

Date: May 17, 2005
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SESSIONS. Madam Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 278 and ask for its immediate consideration.


Mr. SESSIONS. Madam Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.

Madam Speaker, the rule before us today is a fair and completely open rule that provides for 1 hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member on the Committee on Appropriations.

It waives all points of order against consideration of the bill, and provides that under the rules of the House the bill shall be read for amendment by paragraph. It waives points of order against provisions in the bill for failure to comply with clause 2 of rule XXI, which prohibits unauthorized appropriations or legislative provisions in an appropriations bill except as specified in the resolution.

Finally, the rule authorizes the Chair to accord priority in recognition to Members who have preprinted their amendments in the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD and provides for one motion to recommit with or without instructions.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of this rule and the underlying legislation. This bill, sponsored by my friend, the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Rogers), the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, funds an array of Federal programs aimed at securing the Nation against terrorist attacks, including Customs and border protection, transportation security, and Federal assistance to State and local first responders.

In addition, it funds some additional and vitally important missions of agencies that were included in the Democratic of Homeland Security when it was formed 2 years ago, such as disaster relief. This carefully considered legislation provides almost $31 billion for operations and activities of the Department of Homeland Security, an increase of $1.37 billion above fiscal year 2005 enacted levels, excluding $2.5 billion in advance appropriations for BioShield and $1.3 billion above the President's request.

It also provides $1 billion in mandatory budget authority for programs in the Department. Some of the other initiatives that the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Rogers), the chairman, and his subcommittee have funded through this bill on behalf of the American public include: $7.5 billion to the Coast Guard, who are called today to defend our coast from the threat of terrorism;

$6.9 billion for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, including $4.9 billion for enforcement activities and assets; $458 million for computer automated import and export tracking functions; $348 million for maintenance of air and marine vessels; and $93 million for facilities construction and maintenance;

$5.7 billion for the Transportation Security Administration, including $2.5 billion for aviation, passenger and baggage screening; $983 million for aviation security direction and enforcement; and $36 million for surface transportation security;

$4.5 billion for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including $3.1 billion for immigration enforcement, detention and removal; and $699 million for Federal air marshals;

$3.6 billion overall for terrorism preparedness grants, including $750 million for formula-based grants to States; $1.2 billion in discretionary grants for high-threat urban ports, port security and public transportation security; $600 million for fire prevention and control grants; $200 million for training exercises and technical assistance grants; and $180 million for emergency management performance grants;

$3 billion for emergency preparedness and response, including $2 billion for disaster relief; $861 million for information analysis and infrastructure protection; and $422 million for the Office of the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security, including $390 million for the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology known as US-VISIT program; $14 million for the NEXUS/SENTRI program; and $7 million for the free and secure trade programs.

In addition to providing these much needed funds throughout this legislation, the gentleman from Kentucky (Chairman ROGERS) and his committee have also focused sharply on the need for strong oversight and Congressional review of how the taxpayers' money is being spent wisely and efficiently on homeland security.

This much needed emphasis on oversight of the efficiency and effectiveness on how money is spent on defending our homeland will ensure that the money is spent wisely. It will also limit waste and abuse so that the programs that are truly needed to protect the safety of American citizens will have the funds when they are needed and the ability to operate those plans.

Madam Speaker, I strongly support this legislation and this open rule. I commend my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee for their hard work in developing this legislative product.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. SESSIONS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, the opportunity to be here on behalf of this rule today, as my colleague, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), points out, is all taking place as a result of the hard work that took place not only between the gentleman from Kentucky (Chairman ROGERS) and the gentleman from Minnesota (Ranking Member SABO); but, really, it was from a lot of work that has taken place over a long period of time, working with the administration, working with the Homeland Security Department.

I must confess that I believe that we should have stronger oversight. I think we agreed on that last night in the Committee on Rules. We are also of the belief that the new leadership at homeland security will continue in this very important task of working with not only the administration but working with our appropriators, our authorizers, the people who are very interested in making sure that we move in a collaborative effort forward for homeland security.

So I am proud of what the bill is today. I think that what the subcommittee did was good work. We are going to get it on the floor today. We are going to debate it. We are going to make it better, and I am proud of the progress that we are making.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. SESSIONS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The gentleman makes some very good points about not only his vision and ideas about jurisdictional issues, but I would say to my colleagues today that there is some disappointment on behalf of the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Rogers), our great chairman, who worked very diligently, faithfully not only with homeland security but also others in this Congress who are attempting to make sure that Congress not only has a say about the money that is appropriated but an expectation back from the administration and homeland security about the worthiness of what we believe public policy should be. I think this leadership, I think the Committee on Rules last night heard the argument and were very hopeful that we can reach resolution.

Today, we are going to debate this bill. Today, we are going to pass this rule, and we are going to pass this bill, and it is going to empower not only the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Sabo) but also the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Rogers) to continue, to go back and do their work, to go back, yes, to the table once again with homeland security and to talk about how important it is that the Homeland Security Department provide information on a timely basis.

It is important for us to continue providing reassurance to the American people that the philosophy, that the plans that are in place and moving forward will meet the continuing threat needs against this country.

What I would say is that we are not going to give up on the process. I do not know that it is perfect. I expressed some reservations myself yesterday in the Committee on Rules about things which I supported, but I believe that our chairman and the ranking member are forthright about their need, their desire to make sure that we will continue working with Department of Homeland Security, even when we have the disagreements. This is a strong sense of the support in Congress that we have for the appropriators to go back and continue to do their work.

So I am proud of what we are doing. I do not think it is a sham. I understand completely why we are here today. I think it will be very clear when we vote today, and it will be a strong signal back to the American public that we intend to be serious about not only the threats that are placed against this country but also those avenues that make sure that our border security continues to provide on a moving-forward basis the ability that we have to meet the threat that is placed against this country.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I think we just saw an articulate discussion about how people do need to work together here in Washington and how the ranking member, the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Sabo), and our chairman, the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Rogers), worked together in their desire to make sure that Homeland Security is listening and to make sure it is a collaborative effort. We are going to keep after it. We are going to keep doing the right things that will ensure that the American public understands and gets not only every single dollar's worth, not a penny more, but every single dollar's worth of what is paid for that will secure this country, and that involves the efficiency and effectiveness of Homeland Security.

We had a discussion yesterday about the leadership of Homeland Security; how we know it is brand new, how we know the daunting challenge that is ahead of placing together all of these organizations and making them work well together, having them under the same mission statement and making sure that they are funded properly, making sure we hear back from them, making sure they hear back from us.

Really, what this debate is about today is that we are not sure that Homeland Security is effectively listening to us, the policies that we would intend for them to place before the American public; to implement those and to make sure safety and security is taken care of properly, and then, lastly, the information back that will allow the ranking member and our great chairman a chance to philosophically address those changing parameters and threats against this country.

I believe that this administration will be serious about it. I believe the new leadership of Homeland Security in their wisdom and ability to work more carefully as time moves on will answer these questions and they will provide those things that are necessary.

But we just saw a prime example of the kind of steady hand, proper leadership that exists here in the House of Representatives, and I am proud of that. I am proud of this on both sides of the aisle. I think we will continue working together, and I think that is what this legislation will prove worthy of today.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

We have had a great opportunity to air out our differences today, our hopes and expectations about what we think the brighter and better future will be for the relationship that we have with Homeland Security, and today is part of that process.

I would like to once again reiterate my support for Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Sabo, but I would also like to extend to the members of the Homeland Security Subcommittee my thanks for a job well done. They have spent a lot of time not only traveling around the country, with interaction and meeting with very important people who are focused on a daily basis on our homeland security, and so I want to thank those Republicans who are members of this subcommittee: The gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Wamp), the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Latham), the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Emerson), the gentleman from New York (Mr. Sweeney), the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe), the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. LaHood), the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Crenshaw), the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Carter), and the vice chairman, the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Istook). It has taken a lot of their hard work, along with our friends on the other side of the aisle to make sure that the legislation would get to the floor today.

I would like to congratulate the chairman of the full committee also, the gentleman from California (Mr. Lewis), for his hand in making sure this works.


Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I offer an amendment to the resolution.