The US House Committee on Appropriations approved an $85.67 billion Homeland Security bill for FY 2023 — $2.7 billion more than the previous year.
The funding invests in “smart, effective border security, meet humanitarian needs of migrants and support federal efforts to keep the country safe,” said Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) and a member of the committee.
A provision in the bill would secure the nation’s critical infrastructure with dramatically increased funding to prevent cyberattacks and root out cyber intrusions.
“The bottom line is that we should fully expect and prepare for Russia and individuals and entities associated with Russia to continue to engage in cyber warfare across the world, as they are already doing in Ukraine and have done in our country and elsewhere in the world — and as we pursue our critical response through sanctions and other means,” Rep. Case said.
“This is just as true in Hawai’i as anywhere else in our country. For although we may be physically located on the other side of the world and far from the actual war, cyberattacks do not care about physical locations.”
The bill also supports the Federal Emergency Management Agency; US Customs and Border Protection; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; US Citizenship and Immigration Services; the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency; the Transportation Security Administration; the US Coast Guard; the US Secret Service and more.
The Appropriations Committee is responsible for allocating about $1.6 trillion in funding to federal government agencies, departments and organizations on an annual basis through 12 bills. The homeland security bill moved to the full US House of Representatives for consideration.
It includes $101 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which includes the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPC) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The NDPC, a seven member professional alliance, is the principal means through which FEMA identifies, develops, tests and delivers training to state and local emergency responders. The NDPC has trained more than 2.5 million people throughout the United States and its territories.
Other programs and provisions Rep. Case said he requested and secured:
- $370 million for the Emergency Management Performance Grants, which support state and local emergency management agencies like the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency.
- $370 million for assistance to firefighter grant programs, a major source of funding for county fire departments.
- $30 million for the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program.
The measure also:
- Includes Rep. Case’s requested report language to support the Coast Guard in the Indo-Pacific and requires the Coast Guard to examine its assets in Oceania and the facilities in O‘ahu.
- Directs FEMA to report on their strategies to respond to the unique challenges posed by disasters in Hawai‘i and other non-contiguous areas.
- Includes language requiring US Citizenship and Immigration Services to brief Congress on resources needed to shorten the wait times for family members of Filipino World War II veterans and more quickly process the permanent resident applications of those enrolled in the Filipino War Veteran Parole Program.