The Homeland Security Department could see a big boost in funding for the last five months of the fiscal year, according to the fiscal 2017 budget amendment the White House submitted to Congress Thursday.
The amendment calls for an additional $3 billion in funding for DHS, which would begin to pay for the President’s executive orders on border security and immigration enforcement. Current funding under the continuing resolution expires April 28.
Defense base spending would also get a $24.9 billion boost, as well as $5.1 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations.
Unlike the fiscal 2018 request, the 2017 amendment doesn’t suggest a dollar-for-dollar offset.
“There’s a few reasons for that,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said during a March 16 White House press conference. “One of them is time. Another one is that some of that is what they call Overseas Contingency Operations. Now you also know that I have a somewhat colored history with the Overseas Contingency Operation. But I will tell you we went through this and made sure that the money that’s being requested is true OCO, that means it’s focused truly where we’re involved overseas.”
To pay for additional defense and homeland security spending for the rest of the year, civilian agencies would see a $18 billion reduction in discretionary spending.
The amendment, which the White House released under the radar of the 2018 budget release, does not describe how and where it expects agencies to cut resources for the rest of the fiscal year.
“A cut of that magnitude over a five-month period would be devastating to the agencies’ ability to conduct their day-to-day work,” National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said in a statement.
It does include a more detailed look at how the administration wants to begin analysis, procurement and construction of a wall along the southern border — and start hiring border patrol agents and immigration officers.
The DHS Office of the Secretary and executive management functions would receive an additional $11.3 million to “establish and support a real-time data integration system” and to pay for a new border and immigration “modeling analysis.”
Part of the additional funding would help the department build the “administrative capacity” to recruit and hire for 15,000 new members of its workforce.
Customs and Border Protection would receive an additional $286 million dollars above current funding levels.
“This amendment is necessary to ensure adequate funding for planning, operation and support of high priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology investments, including designing and constructing a wall and other physical barriers on the southern border of the United States and to recruit, hire, train and equip an additional 5,000 border patrol agents,” it said.
Specifically, $65 million of that total would help CBP begin building the capacity to hire 5,000 additional agents, a task that could be a heavy lift for the agency.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement would receive an extra $1.2 billion over the last five months of the fiscal year to pay for additional detention facilities and homeland security investigations intelligence activities.
About $76 million of that total would help ICE build its hiring capacity to bring on 10,000 new immigration officers.
In addition, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center would see an additional boost to the tune of $25 million to hire and train basic training instructors, who will help train new law enforcement officers within CBP and ICE the following fiscal year.
The department itself would also receive an additional $1.4 million for border wall and construction.
The budget amendment from the White House is merely a request; Congress must decide April 28 whether it makes significant changes to the current funding levels for some agencies through an omnibus, holds current resources steady with another CR or enacts a new budget proposal altogether.