WASHINGTON, DC - The Senate Appropriations Committee today unanimously approved a fiscal year 2015 Homeland Security bill that provides $47.2 billion to help protect the American people from a variety of public safety threats, including natural disasters such as fires and floods, as well as cyber attacks and acts of terror.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), a member of the Appropriations Committee, said: “This bill is a smart investment in keeping the American people safe and strengthening our national security infrastructure.  It will enhance Rhode Island’s first response capabilities and includes vital funding to help update flood maps and prepare for extreme weather events.”

The bill includes report language Reed requested relating to Liberian refugees and people who renounce citizenship for tax purposes.  Since Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) expires for Liberian refugees living in the U.S. on September 30, Reed’s provision encourages the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to work with the White House and the U.S. Department of State to move expeditiously on considering an extension of DED for qualifying Liberians to allow them to continue their legal right to live, work, and pay taxes in the United States.  Reed’s provision to help prevent expatriate tax dodgers from reentering the United States calls on DHS to report within 90 days on their efforts to enforce the law that Senator Reed authored to prohibit individuals from reentering the United States if they renounced their citizenship in order to avoid taxes.

Reed also helped increase funding for FEMA to update flawed or inaccurate flood insurance maps.  This measure overturned a proposed $11 million cut to the flood mapping program that was originally included in the President's proposed budget.

The Homeland Security Appropriations bill includes:

  • $10.2 billion for the Coast Guard.
  • $7 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, which supports the estimated costs associated with an average disaster year as well as the costs of recovery from previous major disasters such as Sandy and Irene.
  • $5.5 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • $4.9 billion for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
  • $2.5 billion for FEMA’s first responder grants:
    • $1.5 billion for State and Local grants, $680 million for Assistance to Firefighter Grants, $467 million for State Homeland Security Grants, and $350 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants.
    • $1.6 billion for the Secret Service.
    • $757 million for cybersecurity protection of federal networks and incident response.
    • $100 million for Transit and Rail Security Grants, including $10 million for Amtrak security.
    • $100 million for Port Security Grants.
    • $100 million for Flood Mapping and Risk Analysis.
    • $44 million for the United States Fire Administration. 
    • $39.5 million for DHS University Programs.
    • $25 million for FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program.

The bill also includes resources to help address the humanitarian crisis along our Southern border, which has seen thousands of young children, often unaccompanied by any adult, making the dangerous journey into the United States.  The bill doubles funding for the Unaccompanied Alien Children program, to $1.94 billion.