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A Recap of Important Amendments to the DHS Appropriations Bill

Earlier this week, the House voted on the first appropriations bills of the FY 2014 budget process.  So far, leadership has kept their promise to allow an open amendment process on the bills.  As such, members have been able to offer some good and some not so good amendments.  Unfortunately, none of this will make a difference because they will cave on the final budget process at the end of the summer.

Among the amendments, were three votes that I highlighted in a spreadsheet: a bad amendment by Bill Cassidy to delay modest flood insurance reforms, a good amendment by Scott Garrett to block TSA-style searches outside of an airport setting, and a King amendment to defund Obama’s illegal administrative amnesty.  Click here to see the voting presentation.

Here is a description of the amendments from the Republican Study Committee:

Cassidy (R-LA)/Grimm (R-NY)/Palazzo (R-MS).  This amendment delays implementation of Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Report Act of 2012 for one year.  Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012 ends the grandfathered National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rates and allows the premium rates to rise up to 20 percent per year over a five year period. According to the sponsor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not fully understand the implications of implementing Section 207 and has not accounted for all factors when creating their flood zone maps.  The one year delay is designed to give FEMA time to properly implement the risk premium formulas and create accurate flood zone maps.

The amendment passed 281-144 with 94 GOP votes.

Garrett (R-NJ).  This amendment prohibits any funds in the Act from being used by a Visible Intermodal Protection and Response (VIPR) team or by the Transportation Security Administration to conduct security screening outside of an airport.  According to the TSA, the VIPR program was developed by TSA after the Madrid train bombing in 2005.  VIPR teams are fully mobile and can be deployed at “random locations and times” and are applicable to “all modes of transportation”.  This amendment directs that screening will only be conducted following the provisions of Section 44901 of title 49.  Section 44901 of title 49 applies to screening at airports only.

The amendment failed 180-247 with 68 Republicans voting no:

King (R-IA).  This amendment prohibits funds from being used to follow specific memorandums authored by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano that allow prosecutorial discretion, deferred action, and determines priorities regarding the removal and amnesty of illegal immigrants. Specifically, a June 15, 2012 memorandum instructs Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to grant deferred action to certain illegal aliens, directs officers to refrain from placing these individuals in removal proceedings, and permits personnel to grant employment to certain beneficiaries of this directive. A similar June 17, 2011 memo permits the use of discretion when granting amnesty to illegal immigrants based on a set of vague criteria. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor has ruled  “that DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings [when the law requires it].” This ruling was a result of ten ICE officers who filed a lawsuit on August 23, 2012, against Janet Napolitano and John Morton claiming that these directives placed them in a position to violate federal law in multiple ways. Heritage Action supports this amendment, and will be including it as a vote on their scorecard.

The amendment passed224-201.  Only 6 Republicans voted against it.  We hope the rest of the conference remain strong on the issue when it really counts.  The 6 no votes were Bachus, S. (AL-06),Denham (CA-10), Grimm (NY-11),Nunes (CA-22), Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27),Valadao (CA-21).  Yes, Bachus, who hails from one of the most conservative districts in the country, stands out like a sore thumb.

Cross-posted at ConservativeVoting Records.com

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