WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, emphasized the need to adopt fiscally responsible policies and highlighted key examples of waste at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during today’s business meeting. Dr. Paul offered numerous amendments to place commonsense restrictions on bills that would add additional funding to programs and proposed two-year sunsets allowing Congress to evaluate any unintended consequences to initiatives and avoid long-term negative impacts.
Additionally, Dr. Paul brought attention to the DHS budget, which has grown to over $100 billion, and called for a hearing to discuss how they spend taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. DHS has drastically increased funding for the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, which DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted was not investigating the lab leak of COVID-19. Dr. Paul demonstrated that rather than investigate the origins of COVID or secure the southern border, DHS wasted tax dollars on useless programs, including funding for unusable electric vehicles, empty hotel rooms for illegal immigrants, and graphic novels that depict vaccine critics as an assault on citizens.
Dr. Paul also urged caution towards legislation that expanded the authority of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) until their efforts to silence constitutionally protected speech are bound by the first amendment.
View the Ranking Member’s opening statement here
Opening remarks as prepared below:
For the second time in 7 days, we are meeting again to furiously consider 13 bills, only 3 of which we have bothered to understand the costs.
I wish this markup was an exception to the norm, but astonishingly, it is all too frequent that my colleagues in Congress blindly vote on bills without any regard to this nation’s dire fiscal circumstances.
It doesn’t take much imagination to understand how we have arrived at $32 trillion in debt, that’s 136% of GDP. This is a staggering burden that will worsen if Congress continues to avoid action.
Most of the bills under consideration today are proposing additional funds to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
DHS serves as an excellent case study of Congress’s blatant disregard for fiscal responsibility. DHS had a budget of $31 billion in its first year in 2003. Over the course of the next two decades, this number tripled to over $100 billion in 2023.
For perspective, this is more than twice as quick as our nation’s entire economy grew in the same period.
It now takes the entire tax revenue of more than 37 states to fully fund the $103 billion of DHS.
This begs a question that this committee unfortunately does not seem keen on answering, where is this money going?
Some will argue that DHS’s growth is justified given the crises we now have at the border.
While we do indeed have a crisis at the border, that doesn’t seem to be focus at DHS.
In the last 5 years, DHS’s overall expenditures have grown 58%. Despite the situation at the border progressively getting worse, the growth for “Border Activities” that is, funds spent on Customs and Border Patrol, TSA, ICE, and the Coast Guard have only grown 24%.
What’s driving the growth at DHS? The answer, as shown in this chart, is unsurprisingly bureaucracy and waste:
- The Office of Secretary and Executive Management grew 81%.
- The Management Directorate grew 75%.
- The Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office grew 57%.
- Secretary Mayorkas recently testified this office is doing nothing to investigate Covid Origins.
- The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) grew 51%.
It is our duty as members of the Homeland Security committee to oversee the $103 billion in taxpayer funds at DHS.
We say we want to fund the border, we say we want to give our border agents a raise, but instead of taking our border seriously, we are giving blank checks to DHS. In this last year DHS has spent:
- $123 million on electric vehicles that DHS told GAO they can’t even use.
- $1.3 million on a “cybersecurity diversity fellowship.”
- A 75-day “Psychological Safety Workshop to ensure individuals show up as their authentic selves.”
- $160 million on projects to advance environmental justice at FEMA.
- $4.3 million on grants to house illegal immigrants.
- $17 million in unused hotel rooms for illegal immigrants.
- $225,000 in a marketing campaign to convince migrants from Latin America not to come to the southern border.
If these blatant examples of government waste aren’t offensive enough, I want to show you how busy CISA has been creating graphic novels depicting vaccine critics assaulting people.
These are the things DHS continues to fund and will continue to fund if we continue to ignore our fiscal responsibility.
I will not sit idly by and blindly pass another 13 bills knowing that these are all pieces of legislation that do nothing to solve our border crisis, nothing to solve our nation’s fiscal crisis, and nothing to reel in the flagrant waste at the Department of Homeland Security.