Overruled: White House Overrules Department of Homeland Security Budget Request on Border Security Priorities [open pdf - 2MB]
"The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) plays a critical role in the process of developing the President's budget proposal each year. The Democratic staff of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs recently obtained a non-public document communicating OMB guidance from the President to the Department of Homeland Security regarding its upcoming budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2019. At the request of Ranking Member Claire McCaskill, this staff report summarizes information contained within this document related to securing our nation's borders. Key findings include: (1) OMB rejected the Department's specific funding requests in certain circumstances for additional border security technology and equipment and, instead, instructed the Department to dramatically increase funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (2) OMB instructed the Department to decrease its original funding request for border security technology and equipment initiatives by approximately $175 million. (3) OMB reduced the Department budget request for Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS) in the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector in Texas. Despite its assertion that 'surveillance in the Sector is a continued priority,' OMB instructed DHS to request only $43.7 million for this technology - a $44.6 million reduction to the Department's original request, constituting a cut of over 50%. OMB acknowledged that reductions to RVSS technology are necessary 'to offset the costs of Presidential priorities not funded in the DHS request.' (4) OMB instructed DHS to seek $1.6 billion from Congress 'to continue construction of the border wall in the Rio Grande Valley Sector' of Texas. The document indicates that OMB's instruction to ask for $1.6 billion is '$700 million more than the agency request,' representing a 78% increase over the Department's original funding request for a physical barrier along the southwest border."
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/