Department of Homeland Security Appropriations

The annual Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill establishes funding levels on an annual basis for a number of key airport priorities within the budgets for the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Among other items, the annual DHS spending bill addresses funding for the TSA law enforcement officer (LEO) reimbursement grant program; TSA staffing at airport exit lanes; technology deployment, including the installation of additional computed tomography machines at airports; reimbursement to airports for costs incurred to install explosive detection systems (EDS); canine teams; visible intermodal prevention and response (VIPR) teams; and TSA and CBP staffing levels.  

AAAE and airports around the country worked tirelessly in 2019 to ensure that Congress did not shift security and funding responsibilities from TSA to airport operators and provided adequate funding for TSA and CBP to fully staff security checkpoints and international arrival halls and to deploy technology needed to effectively and efficiently screen passengers and their baggage recognizing that travel volumes are growing consistently.   

For the third year in a row, airports have successfully convinced Congress to retain funding for key programs, like LEO grants and TSA exit lane staffing, as well as add more CBP officers and security technologies beyond that requested. 

Status

On December 20, the FY 2020 spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security and its related agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), was enacted.  The bill restores funding for key airport priorities.

For TSA, notable items include:
$46.3 million for the LEO reimbursement program, rejecting the administration’s proposal to eliminate funding for this program and shift these costs on to airport operators;
$83.5 million for TSA to maintain existing exit lane staffing, as required by statute, instead of shifting those costs on to airports;
$77.8 million to hire additional Transportation Security Officers necessary to address the continued growth in passenger volumes at airports;
$166.9 million to sustain 1,097 canine teams, including the 50 teams added in FY 2019;
$58.8 million to sustain 31Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, rejecting the administration’s proposal to eliminate this program;
Sufficient funding for 320 new computed tomography machines, advancement of CT algorithms to improve detection rates, and design and development of a CT unit suitable for small and rural airports; and
$40 million to reimburse airports that acquired partial or complete in-line baggage systems prior to August 3, 2007 and have validated project costs.

For CBP, notable items include: 
$140.4 million in direct appropriations to support 800 new positions, including 610 CBP officers.  When combined with fee funding, CBP will have sufficient resources to hire a total of 1,200 new CBP officers and 240 agriculture specialists during FY 2020.
$61 million is user fees for biometric exit efforts

Related Information

• AAAE’s LEO Reimbursement Program Issue Brief may be viewed here.

• AAAE’s Exit Lane Staffing Issue Brief may be viewed here.

• AAAE’s CBP and International Facilitation Issue Brief may be viewed here.

• Letters outlining AAAE’s priorities for TSA and CBP as part of the FY 2020 DHS spending bill may viewed here and here.

• A side-by-side chart that shows how the House and Senate bills stack up against the FY 2019 enacted level and the administration’s FY 2020 budget request may be viewed here.

Contact  

Stephanie Gupta
Senior Vice President, Security and Facilitation
(703) 671-8622