The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent a $271M reprogramming notification to Congress on July 26. DHS cited the record surge in migrant arrivals at the U.S. Southern border and ensuing humanitarian crisis as the reason for needing to reprogram these funds. “Without additional resources, the safety and well-being of law enforcement personnel and migrants are at substantial risk.” While DHS has received supplemental funding to expand migrant processing centers, the administration contends that they need additional funding for detention beds, ground transportation, air transportation, transportation costs related to Migrant Protection Protocol, and the establishment and operation of temporary immigration hearing facilities on the southwest border.
House Homeland Security Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Lucille Roybal-Allard responded to DHS Acting Secretary McAleenan in a letter this week in which she stated that she has, “significant concerns about the intended use of funds and, consequently, about the tradeoffs between that use and the activities that would otherwise be funded from the source accounts.” While the chairwoman objected to the reprogramming, she noted in her letter that it was a moot point as the Department has already incurred most of the obligations related to the notification and doesn’t need congressional approval to go ahead with the transfers. Roybal-Allard wrote, “the late submission of this notification undermines and ignores the time-tested mechanism for ensuring that the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations are in concurrence with proposed transfer and reprogramming actions.” She urged DHS to work with the Committee to “restore the partnership we once had in support of the Department’s many important missions.”
Department of Homeland Security FY 2019 Southwest Border Emergency Transfer and Reprogramming Notification
Chairwoman Roybal-Allard Letter to DHS Acting Secretary McAleenan
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Thompson Statement
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) release an update to its 10-year budget and economic outlook projections. CBO estimates that the U.S. federal deficit is forecasted to be $960B in FY2019 and will reach $1 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year. The estimate for FY2019 is $63B or 7% above the estimate CBO released three months ago. Over the 2020 to 2029 period, projected annual deficits will equal $12.2T, or $800B more than projected in May. This is an average of $1.2T per year, or 4.7% of gross domestic product (GDP). In 2018, debt held by the public reached 78% of GDP. By 2029, the national debt is projected to grow to 95% of GDP – its highest level since immediately after WWII.
The increase in the deficit comes mostly from the higher discretionary funding limits for FY2020 and FY2021 in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019. An anticipated reduction in interest rates provides some relief as it lowered projections of net interest outlays by $1.4 trillion (including interest savings from the resulting reductions in deficits and debt).
CBO “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2019 to 2029”
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published its Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report to Congress on the implementation of the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). The document includes data reported by agencies to OMB and the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA). The report highlights government-wide cybersecurity programs and initiatives, and federal agencies’ progress to enhance federal cybersecurity over the past year and into the future. In FY18, federal agencies reported 31,107 incidents, which is a 12% decrease from FY17. While the number of incidents has decreased, several large agencies continue to be at risk for cyberattacks. The most at risk agencies are the departments of Energy and Health and Human Services, EPA, FCC, and FTC. Email-based threats are the most prevalent means of cyberattack. And the main deficiencies are lack of data protection, inconsistent application of software security fixes, lack of strong authentication requirements for accessing systems, and absence of continuous monitoring of systems.
Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) FY2018 Report
The President signed the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.R. 3877) last week. Senate appropriators can now turn their attention to their FY20 spending bills. Last week Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) distributed the individual spending allocations for each of his 12 subcommittees, but those figures have not been made public. The allocations will allow the Senators and committee staff to finish drafting their bills during the August recess so that they are ready when Congress returns the week of September 9.
Senate Republicans are looking to decrease the Labor HHS Education FY20 allocation by $5 billion in order to fund the President’s border wall. This is a clear signal that negotiations between the House and Senate on the Homeland Security FY20 spending bill could be contentious. Congress approved $1.3B for the wall in the FY19 omnibus signed into law in February. The President has requested an additional $8.6B for border barriers in FY20 – $5B for the Department of Homeland Security and $3.6B for the Department of Defense to assist with the project.
The first full committee markup will be on September 12. The first package the Senate marks up could be a three-bill minibus that includes the Defense, Labor HHS Education, and Energy & Water spending bills. Chairman Shelby has the goal of marking up all 12 FY20 spending bills before the end of September. The committee will mark up four bills per week to meet that goal.
The Senate passed the bipartisan budget deal this week by a vote of 67-28. Five Democrats and 23 Republicans voted against the measure. The President signed the bill this morning. The deal sets an overall funding level of $1.37T for FY20 and suspends the debt limit through July 31, 2021. This deal officially ends the budget caps and threat of sequestration imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
BCA FY20 Budget Caps
FY20 Budget Deal
BCA FY21 Budget Caps
OCO + Disaster Relief
Includes $103.812B in emergency supplemental disaster relief funding (P.L. 115-72) to respond to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Senate appropriators can now turn their attention to their FY20 spending bills. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) said that he hopes to finalize the spending allocations for each of his 12 subcommittees by the end of this week or early next week. Shelby is still negotiating with Democrats on those allocations. The allocations will allow the Senators and committee staff to finish drafting their bills during the August recess so that they are ready when Congress returns the week of September 9. The first full committee markup will be on September 12. The first package the Senate marks up could be a three-bill minbus that includes the Defense, Labor HHS Education, and Energy & Water spending bills.
The House has passed 10 of its 12 annual spending bills, but most of them will have to be rewritten to the newly agreed upon overall spending limits. House Democrats had allocated more for nondefense spending and less for defense spending when they marked up their FY20 spending bills earlier this year.
Getting all 12 bills passed, conferenced, and passed again before the end of the fiscal year is unlikely, so a continuing resolution (CR) will be needed to keep the government open. How long that CR will last – a few weeks or several months – is up for debate. And there will be much debate over the controversial Homeland Security spending bill, which could result in a year-long CR for DHS.
FY2020 Appropriations Bills Status
Subcommittee: May 23Full Committee: June 4Floor: June 25
Commerce Justice Science
Subcommittee: May 17Full Committee: May 22Floor: June 25
Subcommittee: May 15Full Committee: May 21Floor: June 19
Energy & Water
Subcommittee: May 15Full Committee: May 21Floor: June 19
Subcommittee: June 3Full Committee: June 11Floor: June 26
Subcommittee: June 5Full Committee: June 11Floor:
Subcommittee: May 15Full Committee: May 22Floor: June 25
Labor HHS Education
Subcommittee: April 30Full Committee: May 8Floor: June 19
Subcommittee: May 1Full Committee: May 9Floor:
Military Construction VA
Subcommittee: May 1Full Committee: May 9Floor: June 25
State Foreign Operations
Subcommittee: May 10Full Committee: May 16Floor: June 19
Subcommittee: May 23Full Committee: June 4 Floor: June 25