Department of Homeland Security: Appropriations Transfer Authority [Updated September 16, 2002] [open pdf - 99KB]
"The establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as proposed by President George W. Bush and Members of Congress, involves in large part the transfer to the new department of existing functions carried out by many different agencies and programs. Along with the authority to transfer functions, the legislative proposals include authority to transfer the personnel, assets (including appropriations), and other items connected with these functions. The proposals for appropriations transfer authority for the new department have engendered controversy with regard to the appropriate balance between providing executive flexibility and retaining congressional control over spending. [...] With regard to general transfer authority, which would be provided to the Secretary of Homeland Security following the establishment of the department and would cover transfers between accounts within the department's budget, the Administration proposed permanent authority, subject to a 5% limit on the amount that may be transferred from any appropriation and a 15-day notice-requirement to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The House Appropriations Committee, and leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee, strongly objected to the proposed general transfer authority, maintaining that sufficient transfer authority could be provided on an ongoing basis through the annual appropriations process. As passed by the House on July 26, 2002, H.R. 5005 would reduce the general transfer authority limit to 2% and sunset the transfer authority after 2 years. The Senate began consideration of H.R. 5005 on September 3. Lieberman amendment #4471, a substitute amendment offered by Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, does not contain a grant of general transfer authority."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31514
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