Legislative Activity

Congress Set to Extend FY 2014 DHS Budget in Continuing Resolution

On September 9, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) introduced a draft continuing resolution (CR, H.J. Res. 124) to fund the federal government at the FY 2014 spending levels through December 11, 2014. Chairman Rogers announced, “Virtually all existing policy and funding provisions included in currently enacted fiscal year 2014 Appropriations legislation will carry forward in this CR . . . However, the CR does include some changes to existing law that are needed to prevent catastrophic, irreversible, or detrimental changes to government programs, to address current national or global crises, or to ensure good government.” With respect to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), he stated that the CR will include “A provision allowing funding flexibility for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to maintain staffing levels, border security operations, detention space, and immigration enforcement activities.”

Last week, the House adjourned early without considering the new CR due to disagreements over funding anti-terror operations in Iraq and Syria, extending the authorization of the Export-Import Bank, and the length of the CR. It is expected to vote on the stopgap spending measure by mid-week. The Senate has not yet released its version of the CR.

Upcoming Hearings

  • Tuesday, September 16: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a nomination hearing on executive branch appointees, including Russell Deyo to be DHS Undersecretary for Management.
  • Wednesday, September 17: The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing titled “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland.”
  • Thursday, September 18: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security will hold a hearing titled “Safeguarding Privacy and Civil Liberties While Keeping Our Skies Safe.”

Executive Branch Activity

President Obama Delays Action on Immigration Reform until After Midterm Elections

Last week, President Obama announced that he would postpone executive action on immigration reform – including addressing the crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. southwest border – until after the November 4 midterm elections.  While he argued that such a delay would give the executive branch more time to prepare a “more sustainable” strategy and get buy-in from the American public, most observers believe that the White House bowed to congressional Democrats’ fears of needing to defend an unpopular immigration action in a tough election year. Nevertheless, President Obama reiterated his commitment to take executive action on immigration reform by the end of 2014 if Congress did not act on its own. Potential steps include creating a pathway to legal status for millions of undocumented workers, extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals deportation deferral program, and implementing an increased border security strategy to address the flood of unaccompanied minors.