House Homeland Security Bill Protects New Jersey, Boosts Nonprofit Grant Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Fiscal Year 2018 Homeland Security Appropriations bill passed by the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee secures funding for New Jersey and protects other programs important to New Jersey communities.  The bill targets critical programs such as aviation security, border and immigration enforcement, customs activities, protection against cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, and efforts to stop the smuggling of drugs and people into the U.S. The legislation also includes $1.6 billion for physical barrier construction along the U.S. southern border.

To respond to both natural and man-made disasters, the bill funds the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster relief account (DRF) at $7.3 billion.  This is the fund that was tapped for New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene.

The legislation also includes $2.7 billion for several FEMA grant programs:

  • The Urban Area Security Initiative, which assists high-threat, high-density Urban Areas like the New Jersey-New York Metropolitan Region in efforts to build and sustain the capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism, is funded at $630 million in the bill. 
  • A component of UASI, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, is increased by $25 million to a total of $50 million.  Nonprofit Security Grants provide funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack.   Synagogues, Jewish Community Centers and schools, including several in New Jersey, were targeted recently in a series of bomb threats. 
  • The bill also includes $690 million for Firefighter Assistance Grants and $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants in our communities.
  • Urban Search and Rescue–  $35.1 million for Urban Search and Rescue, which funds 28 USR Teams including New Jersey Task Force 1 (NJ-TF 1).

Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) University Programs– The legislation includes $40.5 million in funding for University Programs. This funding will be provided to all 10 DHS Centers of Excellence, including the Maritime Security Center (MSC) at Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT).  The MSC conducts innovative research, develops new tools and technologies and provides relevant maritime security-focused educational programs to enhance our nation's maritime domain awareness, the resiliency of our Marine Transportation System (MTS) and the technical skills of our current and prospective maritime security workforce.

Cybersecurity and Protection of Communications– To combat increasingly dangerous and frequent cyber-attacks, the bill includes a total of $1.8 billion for the National Protection and Programs Directorate to enhance critical infrastructure and prevent hacking.  Within this amount, $1.37 billion is provided to help secure civilian (.gov) networks, detect and prevent cyber-attacks and foreign espionage, and enhance and modernize emergency communications. Funds are also included to enhance emergency communications capabilities.

Coast Guard – The United States Coast Guard (USCG) patrols New Jersey waterways and shoreline, interdicts drug shipments and responds to accidents. The bill contains $10.5 billion for the USCG – an increase of $31.7 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The bill provides for a 2.1 percent military pay increase, and targets resources to improve readiness.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)– While rejecting higher TSA aviation and passenger security fees, the bill provides $7.2 billion for TSA, including full funding ($3.2 billion) for Transportation Security Officers, privatized screening operations, and passenger and baggage screening equipment, in order to speed processing and wait times for travelers and cargo. This bill also includes $151.8 million to hire, train, and deploy 1,047 canine teams to further expedite processing time.

“The Appropriations Committee takes its role in safeguarding our homeland and protecting our citizens seriously. Globalization, cyber-security, and terrorism activities are changing our way of life and we need to change with it,” said Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) “This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontline lines who work tirelessly to keep us safe.  The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders.  It is a balanced approach that enhances our capabilities and preparedness.”

In total, the FY 2018 Homeland Security Appropriations bill directs $44.3 billion in discretionary funding for DHS, an increase of $1.9 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. In addition, the bill includes $6.8 billion – the same as the President’s request – for disaster relief and emergency response activities through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).