House Committee OK’s FY25 TSA, Coast Guard Budgets

The House Appropriations Committee on June 12 approved a $94.4 billion appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2025, including $11.7 billion for the Transportation Security Administration and $14.2 billion for the United States Coast Guard.

Once again, this bill moved through Appropriations on a party-line basis, as Democrats like neither the overall spending scheme pursued by the House GOP this year nor the numerous immigration and social issue policy riders contained in numerous general provisions attached to the draft bill.

TSA. The draft committee report made available 24 hours before the full committee markup makes things more clear and allows us to put together a handy one-page table summarizing the funding provided:

In addition to those specific numbers, the report indicates that, within Aviation Screening Operations, $111 million is set aside to continue staffing at airport exit lanes.

The report also makes clear that the House bill would downsize TSA’s roving surface transportation security mission: “Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) Teams.— VIPR teams are duplicative and can face jurisdictional, and in some cases constitutional, challenges. The budget request acknowledges that due to an evolving threat landscape TSA is working to move towards new concepts of surface transportation protection. Consistent with the budget request, the recommendation does not provide funding for VIPR teams.”

Within the capital account, travelers who are tired of pulling electronics out of their bags will note that $175.2 million of the Aviation Screening Infrastructure program is “for the purchase and installation of computed tomography (CT) machines at passenger checkpoints at U.S. airports.”

Coast Guard. As usual, the major differences between the House and the Administration are on the capital side of the budget, starting with the fact that the Administration proposes to cheat the budget ceilings by declaring $912 million of the boat and airplane funding in the bill to be an off-budget emergency. The House bill contains no emergency spending designations (even though they are allowed and even encouraged under the budget “side deal” negotiated by the former Speaker last year) so the bill has to be that much larger in its on-budget total.

Other differences:

  • The House bill has “$60,000,000 for a service life extension program for one Medium Endurance Cutter, enabling the Coast Guard to deploy an additional support cutter to the Indo-Pacific.”
  • For the 110-foot Fast Response Cutter, the report says the extra $115 million is enough to get four additional boats, which will serve in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Domestically, “The recommendation includes $175,000,000 to begin recapitalization of the Coast Guard’s inland river tenders. The Committee recognizes the urgency in replacing the Service’s existing fleet of inland river tenders and fully supports the program.”
  • In the air, while the Administration does not propose to keep the HC-130J program going, the House bill does, adding $139 million to the budget request to buy one more airplane in 2025 and that “The Committee unequivocally urges the Coast Guard to request future HC–130J aircraft in the base budget request beginning in fiscal year 2026.”
  • Where the budget request was basically zero, “Long-Range Unmanned Aircraft.—The recommendation provides $98,000,000 for these aircraft and necessary ground stations. The Committee supports the Coast Guard increasing its use of long-range, unmanned aircraft given the success of the MQ–9 Joint Program Office with CBP. These aircraft provide a cost-effective platform to improve high-seas interdiction and maritime rescue. As the Coast Guard develops this program, the Committee encourages the Service to consider any potential cost savings from co-locating ground stations with existing DHS or DOD facilities.”

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