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House Appropriations Committee Passes $50.7 Billion Fiscal Year 2021 Homeland Security Bill

The Bill Includes Support for Expanded Role for Hawai’i-Based Coast Guard in Indo-Pacific, Efforts to Combat Invasive Species and Other Priorities Sought by Appropriations Committee Member Case

Washington, July 15, 2020

(Honolulu, HI) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) announced today House Appropriations Committee passage of the $50.7 billion Fiscal Year 2021 Homeland Security appropriations bill.

Case said this funding measure supports his goal of increasing the role of the United States Coast Guard, especially the 14th District based in Hawai’i, throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

“The Indo-Pacific is the most dynamic and consequential region in the world, to include two of the world’s largest economies (China and the United States), 9 of the 10 busiest seaports and 60 percent of global maritime trade,” said Case.” Hawai’i is at the center of the Indo-Pacific’s future, and the Coast Guard is a critical part of our country’s efforts in maritime security, humanitarian and other region-wide engagement.”

Case, a founding member of the first-ever Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus, said that in addition to providing an overall level of $12.8 billion for the Coast Guard, the bill includes language he secured advocating for an increased operational role for the Coast Guard in our national Indo-Pacific Strategy and requiring a new strategic intent report to reflect the Coast Guard’s evolving and growing role in the region.

Case serves on the House Committee on Appropriations, which is responsible for allocating federal funds to government agencies, departments and organizations on an annual basis. Each year the committee must prepare 12 separate bills. The committee’s Homeland Security bill funds the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and more.

The FY 2021 Homeland Security appropriations bill provides $50.7 billion in discretionary funding for the various agencies of the Department of Homeland Security. The bill provides $12.8 billion for the Coast Guard and $10.8 billion for FEMA, among other agencies. This includes $5.65 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund and $5.1 billion for major disaster relief.

The bill includes report language secured by Case addressing the introduction of invasive species to Hawai‘i and other non-contiguous territories, including through ballast water discharge. “We must continue to mitigate and prevent the spread of invasive species to Hawai‘i, where we have seen 195 new invasive species introduced since 2005 alone,” said Case.

“Invasive species pose a significant ecological and economic threat to our Hawai‘i, with especially damaging impacts on local agriculture.” 

Case also singled out the measure’s full $3.66 billion in federal grants and training programs for FEMA, which have been so critical to Hawaii’s response to a number of disasters in recent years in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

  • $795 million for the Urban Areas Security Initiative, an increase of $130 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.
  • $385 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants, an increase of $30 million above the FY 2020 enacted level. This program helps fund the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency.
  • $700 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program, an increase of $140 million over the FY 2020 enacted level.
  • $770 million for firefighter grants, with $385 million for each of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response and Firefighters Grant Programs.
  • $150 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, an increase of $25 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.

Other provisions in the bill of interest to Hawai‘i secured by Case include:

  • Report language directing CBP to consult and provide recommendations with the Department of Agriculture and other state and local partners on preventing the introduction of invasive species to Hawai‘i and non-contiguous U.S. territories.
  • Report language requiring a report by the Coast Guard on current enforcement efforts on ballast water management and discharge and additional resources needed to expand enforcement and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
  • $101 million, level funding from FY 2020, for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which includes the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

The bill also provides $7.6 billion for TSA, an increase of $202 million above the FY 2020 enacted level. This includes $90.1 million to continue funding TSA staffing of exit lanes at about a third of our country’s airports, as well as $46.4 million for the Local Law Enforcement Reimbursement Program. The bill also invests in new technology to enhance the operational capabilities of TSA.

Case also secured report language supporting international law enforcement capacity building programs at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers to promote rule of law and good governance by training law enforcement officers of foreign partners.

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