Homeland Security Budget Would Increase 1% Under Obama Budget Proposal
President Barack Obama proposed less than a 1 percent increase in spending by the Department of Homeland Security for the next fiscal year, with the emphasis on money for more Border Patrol agents, customs officers and body scanners.
Under Obama’s proposal, the department would receive $43.2 billion for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, compared with $42.9 billion for the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2010, the last year in which Congress enacted a 12-month spending plan. The government has been operating since then with interim spending.
The 2012 proposal includes money for 21,370 Border Patrol agents and 300 new Customs and Border Protection officers for cargo and passenger screening. The department would get an additional 275 airport screening machines that use advanced imagery technology, devices that civil liberties groups have said violate privacy.
The department’s budget, part of the government’s national security spending, has largely been shielded from proposed cuts in the debate over the ballooning federal deficit. Still, the budget would trim $450 million for consulting contracts, travel, printing and supplies.
The administration proposed deploying 1,275 body scanners in airports by the end of 2012, with $273 million for explosives detectors. L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and OSI Systems Inc.’s Rapiscan make the body scanners for U.S. airports.
Spending on the Coast Guard would rise to $8.7 billion from $8.6 billion in 2010, with $358 million to construct six fast- response cutters and $130 million to build two patrol aircraft. The request comes in the aftermath of the Coast Guard’s response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama also would provide $459 million for the department’s cyber-security unit.
Obama would more than double the airline security fee to $5.50 per flight in 2014 from $2.50 now. With the increase, which would raise $587 million in 2012 and $2.4 billion in 2014, the fees would account for 80 percent of aviation security spending, up from 41 percent.
Airlines have opposed such increases in the past, and their allies in Congress have defeated those proposed by the Bush and Obama administrations.
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