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Senate Appropriators Trim Homeland Security R&D

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved their FY 2016 Homeland Security funding bill with only limited reductions from the request.

On Thursday, June 18, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to approve the FY 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations bill (S. 1619) by a 26-4 vote, sending the bill to the Senate floor (House appropriators have not yet introduced their own version of the bill).

There were generally few changes to the Administration's budget request (see table), which itself sought only limited changes in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding from FY 2015 levels. Senate appropriators did trim some funding from the DHS Science & Technology Directorate's research and innovation accounts, while limiting the proposed cuts to the department's university programs. As depicted in the table, the S&T Directorate allocates funding via six thrust areas; as in years past, the committee declined to recommend specific allocations for most of these thrusts, instead leaving it up to the directorate.

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The largest single change is in the department's construction account, where appropriations for construction of the new National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) were mostly completed in the FY 2015 cycle. The project broke ground in late May.

The bill now awaits consideration on the Senate floor, though the wait may be long given the Democrats' successful block on appropriations, due to disagreements over spending levels.

Cover photo credit: USCBP Flickr