Final FY20 Homeland Security Appropriations for Transportation Security

The fiscal 2020 Homeland Security appropriations conference agreement is included in the first of the two year-end “minibus” appropriations packages as Division D (bill text here (starting on page 462) and joint explanatory statement here).

Transportation Security Administration.

The final bill provides gross appropriations for TSA totaling $7.8 billion, which is $213 million above last year. In net terms (after offsetting aviation security fees), the net total is $53.5 billion higher, since Congress once again ignored the Administration’s proposal to increase the fees by $600 million and because the Congressional Budget Office is projecting the receipts from existing fees to increase by $160 million over last year.

The total for the biggest activity, aviation screening operations, is $5.38 billion, which is $271 million above last year and $416 million above the budget request. The explanatory statement says that the increases above the budget request are broken down as follows: “$25,378,000 to fully fund fiscal year 2020 Screening Partnership Program requirements; $46,416,000 to fully fund retention incentives for TSA employees; and [$49,328,000] to fully fund fiscal year 2020 screening technology maintenance requirements.”

Funding for other operations and enforcement is $1.39 billion, $11 million over last year but $140 million over the requested level. The increase includes $8.4 million for cybersecurity field assessments on pipelines.

The big priority in the procurement, construction and improvements account continues to be the acquisition and installation of computerized tomography (CT) machines to scan hand-carried baggage at airports so people will no longer have to remove electronic items and liquids (hopefully). Together with funding on the mandatory side of the budget, the final bill includes $68.6 million, which will support 360 320 new CT machines.

U.S. Coast Guard. 

The Coast Guard receives a total of $11.97 billion in funding for FY 2020 under the final bill, $30 million less than last year. As usual, there is no reduction in Operations and Support, which receives a $373 million increase over last year, to $8.18 billion. This is $119 million above the budget request.

Counteracting that, funding for the capital account (Procurement, Construction, and Improvements) drops by $456 million below last year, to $1.77 billion. And this difference is primarily about buying a new polar icebreaker – the FY 2019 law included $675 million to buy a new icebreaker, The final FY 2020 bill drops that program to $135 million, $35 million of which is to oversee construction of the new icebreaker paid for last year and $100 million of which is advance funding for a second new icebreaker to be paid off later.

FEMA Security Grants.

The final FY 2020 bill once again provides $100 million each for the port security grant program and the public transit, railroad, and over-the-road bus security grant programs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. For the latter program, the final bill maintains the $10 million set-aside for Amtrak and the $2 million set-aside for over-the-road buses. The Administration had requested cutting both programs by 74 percent each.

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