WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement reacting to the homeland security and governmental affairs priorities included in the FY16 appropriations bill:
“Given the number of threats facing our homeland today, I am encouraged by the number of provisions in the Fiscal Year 2016 spending measure crafted to fund the Department of Homeland Security and help ensure that our country is safe and secure.
“Cyber attacks present one of the biggest national security challenges we face. Congress has a responsibility to continue to strengthen our cyber defenses and help federal agencies, businesses, and consumers protect themselves online. I thank my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee for recognizing the magnitude of this threat and including the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 in the bill, legislation which would facilitate the sharing of cyber threat information among and between the private sector and federal government and authorize key cyber defense programs at the Department of Homeland Security, such as the cyber intrusion and detection system known as EINSTEIN, while maintaining privacy protections.
“As part of the effort to protect our homeland, Congress must make sure there is adequate coordination and collaboration across the Department of Homeland Security. To that end, I was encouraged by the funding that would support the consolidation of the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters at the St. Elizabeths campus. Completion of this project will help the Department build a sense of cohesion across its many offices and save taxpayer dollars in the long run. It should also bolster efforts by Department leaders to improve employee morale. Moreover, I was pleased to see funding dedicated to countering violence extremism and supporting the Department’s Office of Community Partnerships. This will help the Department continue its efforts to combat homegrown terrorism and self-radicalization.
“This bill meets another top homeland security priority of mine: providing much-needed resources to address the underlying causes of the increase in migration we’ve seen from Central America. Specifically, it directs spending of up to $750 million to address what I believe to be the root causes of the surge of migrants we’ve seen along our southern border: the violence, corruption, and lack of economic opportunities in the nations of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. While this money will not by itself solve the complicated, longstanding problems our neighbors in these three countries face, it is an important part of our responsibility to help the governments of the Northern Triangle continue to make progress in improving their citizens’ lives.
“Finally, as we close in on the 2020 Census, Congress has a responsibility to make sure the Census Bureau has the resources it needs during this crucial period of planning and testing. Though lower than the President’s request, the funding provided in this bill will go a long way toward helping the Bureau plan and achieve a more cost-efficient, modern, and accurate count.
“While I am supportive of these provisions, this is an incredibly large package that includes some policies that give me strong reservations. I am thoroughly reviewing all of the bill’s details to determine whether or not the good outweighs the bad.”