Legislative Activity

Senior Senate Democrat Criticizes Cuts to State/Local Homeland Security Program

Shortly after President Obama unveiled his FY 2017 budget request, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) highlighted significant cuts proposed to the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).  UASI funds provide state and local authorities with financial assistance for the prevention, mitigation, response to, and recovery from acts of terrorism.  Congress provided $600 million for the UASI in FY 2016, but the President’s budget requested only $330 million for these grants in the next fiscal year.  Sen. Schumer criticized the decision as “ill-advised and ill-timed,” arguing that these funds are inadequate in light of the threats facing U.S. cities today.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded, noting that $600 million remains in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) account provided to New York, with another $255 million in proposed transfers this year.  He suggested there are ample funds provided to New York City given it is the largest city in the country and a high profile target for terrorists.  Earnest went on to question Sen. Schumer’s national security credentials, noting he opposed the nuclear agreement with Iran and adding that “He was wrong about that position, and most of his Democrats disagreed with him in taking that position. And when people look at the facts here when it comes to funding for homeland security they’ll recognize that he’s wrong this time, too.”  Lawmakers will have a chance to respond to the President’s proposal as they begin to consider appropriations measures funding the government in the next fiscal year.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, February 23: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Unaccompanied Children Crisis: Does the Administration Have a Plan to Stop the Border Surge and Adequately Monitor the Children?”
  • Wednesday, February 24: The Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Homeland Security will hold separate hearings with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to discuss the agency’s FY 2017 budget request.
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency will hold a hearing titled “Probing DHS’s Botched Management of the Human Resources Information Technology Program.
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “International Conflicts of Law Concerning Cross Border Data Flow and Law Enforcement Requests.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest will hold a hearing titled “The Impact of High-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Workers.”
  • Thursday, February 25: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing with FederalBureau of Investigation Director James Comey to discuss the agency’s FY 2017 budget request.
  • Friday, February 26: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications will hold a hearing titled “Food for Thought: Efforts to Defend the Nation’s Agriculture and Food.”