Homeland Security Bill Includes La. Priorities Included by Landrieu
Legislation provides funding for border security, key Coast Guard assets, cyber education
WASHINGTON — The Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today announced the bill to fund the government and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the rest of FY2014 includes numerous Louisiana priorities including: $39.27 billion in discretionary spending, $5.62 billion for FEMA through a disaster relief cap adjustment to the Budget Control Act and $227 million for Coast Guard overseas contingency operations.
The bill provides a total of $10.2 billion for the Coast Guard, robust funding and provisions to strengthen our borders and help small businesses navigate our immigration system, $25.9 million for cyber security education and awareness, through which the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City could continue to provide world class training and language directing DHS to expeditiously implement Sen. Landrieu’s Stafford Act reforms that were included in the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act.
Today’s bill provides $310 million for six Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters, four more than the President requested and two more than the House funded. To date, 24 of these Cutters have been funded to be built in Louisiana by Bollinger Shipyards, with eight delivered to date. This will bring the total number of boats funded to 30.
“This legislation achieves both goals we had to meet: be fiscally prudent but still offer the necessary resources to protect our country from foreign and domestic threats and disasters,” Sen. Landrieu said. “I believe the President’s funding request for the Coast Guard continues to be wholly inadequate, which is why my legislation provides an additional $425 million for capital needs. This will ensure that the Coast Guard has the resources it needs to continue executing its many missions: securing our ports, replacing an aging fleet and renovating inadequate housing units.”
Sen. Landrieu added: “We must continue to smartly secure our border while making sure the United States remains open for business, travel and tourism. This legislation provides the necessary resources to achieve that. To save lives, prevent damage to property and recover faster from disasters, this bill directs DHS to quickly implement reforms to our federal disaster policies crafted from the lessons we learned from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.”
To deal with the troubling growth in sexual assaults in the military, the bill adds $1 million for six regional coordinators to strengthen the Coast Guard’s sexual assault prevention and response program.
Sen. Landrieu’s legislation provides resources for the following priorities:
- The legislation provides $8.74 billion in discretionary spending for the Coast Guard. Specific investments include:
- $310 million for six Fast Response Cutters, which are built at Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, La. This number is four above the President’s request to maximize the production line at six boats, resulting in a $30 million taxpayer savings.
- $629 million for the National Security Cutter, including acquisition of the seventh Cutter and long-lead time materials for the eighth Cutter.
- $18 million for military housing.
- $1 million for 6 regional coordinators, the establishment of sexual assault response teams in every region, and additional training to enhance the Coast Guard’s sexual assault prevention and response program.
Border Security and Immigration:
- Provides $10.58 billion for Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $715 million above fiscal year 2013 post sequestration, to:
- Fund 21,370 Border Patrol agents and hire 2,000 new CBP officers – for a total of 23,775 CBPOs - to reduce wait times at the busiest of our 329 ports of entry today.
- Add $90.6 million above the President’s request for Air and Marine operations and procurement of critical assets to defend our borders, including enhanced radar for unmanned aircraft systems and increased flight hours.
- Reduces detention costs by requiring DHS to use competitive procedures for its detention contract facilities to reduce daily bed rates and save taxpayer money.
- Encourages small business participation in E-Verify by requiring DHS to develop a mobile application that employers can use to check the immigration status of a new hire. The bill also requires DHS and the Small Business Administration to provide marketing incentives to small businesses that opt-in to E-Verify to encourage participation. These incentives may include a gold star on a storefront window or company website signifying that the business is E-Verify compliant.
Provides $792 million for cybersecurity protection of federal networks and incident response, $96 million above fiscal year 2013 post sequestration. This includes $25.9 million for cybersecurity education and awareness. Funding through this program has been awarded in the past to the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City, La to train future cyber warriors through a world class program, and their efforts could be furthered again this year through continued partnership with DHS.
Jones Act Enforcement:
Continues a provision prohibiting waivers of the Jones Act for transporting releases of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve until the Secretary, after consultation with the Secretaries of the Departments of Energy and Transportation and representatives from the U.S. flag maritime industry, takes adequate measures to ensure the use of U.S. flag vessels. The Secretary must also notify Congress within two business days of any other request for waivers. CBP also is directed to develop a system to track the status of all Jones Act violations, assess penalties for previously documented violations, dedicate sufficient resources to vigorously enforce the Jones Act on the Outer Continental Shelf, and to regularly report to Congress on specific Jones Act violations.
Streamline the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) process:
Requires the Transportation Security Administration to submit a report on the plan and timeline for ensuring that only one in-person enrollment visit is required for maritime workers to receive a TWIC.
Requires CBP to work with the Departments of Justice, Commerce and Treasury to increase collection of anti-dumping and countervailing duties for unfairly traded imports, including shrimp and crawfish meat from China.
Stafford Act reforms:
Directs FEMA to expeditiously implement Stafford Act reforms authored by Sen. Landrieu that were enacted as part of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, including provisions to improve child care, housing and first responder reimbursements; reduce bureaucratic waste and speed up funding for debris removal and infrastructure repair.
State and local preparedness grant programs for which Louisiana communities can apply:
- $100 million for Port Security Grants.
- $233.7 million for Education, Training and Exercises, including
- $29 million for continuing training grants to include hazardous materials training as a result of incidents at chemical facilities such as the one in Geismar, Louisiana.
- $98 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which includes the National Center for Biomedical Research and Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education at LSU.
- $340 million each for the fire equipment grant program and the firefighter hiring grant program ($680 million total).
- $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.
- $25 million for Predisaster Mitigation grants.
- $95.2 million of Flood Hazard Mapping.