3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About DHS’s Full-year Funding Bill

Christopher Wiedemann_headshot-65 x 85by Chris Wiedemann, Senior Analyst

My colleague, Tomas O’KeefeDHS did a great job last Tuesday breaking down the major challenges and requirements facing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the upcoming year, but there was one area he mentioned during his Webinar on DHS Sales Opportunities I want to explore more: the current status of FY15 funding for the department.

As Tom mentioned in the Webinar — as well as his recent blog post — DHS is the only department not currently operating under full year funding for FY15 – instead, the “cromnibus” bill that passed in December included a Continuing Resolution (CR), funding them at FY14 levels through February 27th. This means there’s still a possibility for DHS to run into a shutdown when short-term funding expires; however, there’s reason to hope it won’t come to that. The House already passed a full-year DHS funding bill on January 14th. It should be no secret that full-year funding bills can significantly impact COTS sales at any agency.

Let’s take a look at three highlights from the House’s DHS full-year funding bill:

1) A Funding Increase is in the CardsAdmittedly, not a large one (up around $400 million from DHS’s request for FY15) but, in the current constrained budget environment, any increase is news-worthy for industry. Most of the new money will be funneled into three main areas: border security, terrorism prevention, and cybersecurity activities – and of course, all three areas potentially carry hefty IT requirements.

2) CDM is Given Immunity
One thing appropriators can agree on — whether they bleed red or blue — is the importance of the CDM initiative; Tom mentioned in his webinar, CR will not impact current CDM plans, and the House bill will keep funding levels for the program intact.

3) Immigration Takes Front Seat in Funding
Finally— and this is the critical takeaway— the bill as it is currently written has very little chance of becoming law. Amendments that seek to limit some of the administration’s actions on immigration were included in the funding bill, which has drawn veto threats from the President – although the odds of the bill even reaching the Senate floor are low. However, discussions are currently underway to push a “clean” version of the same bill through the Senate – so there is still a good chance that we see full-year funding, especially since Congress still has a full month before the CR expires.

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