E-Verify, cybersecurity are big winners in DHS budget

House committee approves measure that would extend E-Verify program for two years

The E-Verify program would be extended for two years and cybersecurity would get a boost under the fiscal 2010 Homeland Security Department spending bill approved by a House subcommittee.

On June 8, the House Appropriations Committee's Homeland Security Subcommittee allocated $42.6 billion in discretionary funds for the department, said Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), the subcommittee’s chairman.

The departmental total for fiscal 2010 is 6.5 percent above last year’s enacted amount and about 1 percent below the administration’s request, he added.

Click here to view the summary table for the fiscal 2010 DHS spending bill (PDF)

Click here to view the earmark list for the fiscal 2010 DHS spending bill (PDF)

The subcommittee would extend authorization for the E-Verify online employment verification program to 2011. Employers use the program to check that workers are eligible for employment. The Bush administration had ordered federal contractors to use the system, but the Obama administration has delayed implementation until September.

Administration officials had asked for a three-year extension for E-Verify, but subcommittee members said the timing was changed to two years to reflect a high likelihood that the administration will undertake comprehensive immigration and border security reform efforts.

The House panel approved $382 million for DHS’ National Cybersecurity Division, up from $313 million last year. The division works with government, private and international partners to secure cyber infrastructures.

Also included in the bill are $110 million in earmarks for special projects, a number that Price said is 5 percent lower than last year’s to conform to a goal of reducing earmarks.

The subcommittee also sought to reduce spending for port security grants to $250 million, from $400 million last year, and lawmakers cut spending for rail and transit security grants to $250 million from $400 million last year.

The bill includes money for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s fencing, infrastructure and technology account to $732 million, down from $875 million last year. That account includes work on the SBInet high-tech surveillance system on the Arizona/Mexico border.

The U.S Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program to collect biometric fingerprints from foreign travelers will receive $351 million under the bill, up from $300 million last year.

The subcommittee would also increase DHS' science and technology spending to $967 million from $932 million last year.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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