Chairman Carper Statement on President Obama’s Homeland Security Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement responding to President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal:

“Crafting a budget for an agency as complex and important as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is never an easy task.  It is particularly challenging in this fiscal environment. On the whole, the President’s budget for DHS does a good job of striking the difficult balance between reducing spending and providing the resources needed to keep Americans safe. It proposes a boost in funding for cybersecurity, an increase that would enable us to better address the constant threat from foreign and domestic cyber thieves, hackers and terrorists. It also proposes additional resources to staff and operate our nation’s ports of entry, which are vital to both the economic wellbeing and security of our nation. Additionally, it maintains staffing for the Border Patrol at its current level and directs the agency to transition to a more risk-based approach to border security that would allow us to rapidly deploy agents to areas of high risk along the border.  This is a move that will help us be smarter and more efficient in our approach to securing the border. Last but not least, I was heartened to see the Administration’s commitment to funding the DHS Headquarters at the St. Elizabeth’s Campus, which will yield real savings to taxpayers and help the Department to work as efficiently and effectively as possible in the years to come.

“With that said, I’m concerned that this proposal’s significant cuts to several key DHS priorities are penny wise and pound foolish. Better management leads to getting better results for less money in carrying out the Department’s missions.  This budget’s cuts to DHS management are shortsighted and could undermine the progress DHS has made in this area. I’m also concerned by the proposed decrease in frontline personnel at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As we move forward on efforts to reform our immigration laws, I believe that ICE will play a critical role when it comes to enforcing our workplace laws.  Reducing these frontline positions could undermine our efforts to implement new reforms to the best of our ability.

“With the President’s proposal on the table, as well as plans put forward by both the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats should now come together and agree to a comprehensive, long-term plan that sets our country on the right fiscal path. As Chairman, I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Committee, appropriators and the Administration to ensure that DHS is carrying out its mission to protect and secure our country while constantly looking for ways to become more efficient with the tax dollars we entrust to it.”