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.  
As Congress considers the Fiscal Year 2020 spending bill for DHS, AAAE and airports around the country are working to ensure that Congress avoids shifting security and funding responsibilities from TSA to airport operators and provides 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.   

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 over the past two years. The House Appropriations Committee also included funding for all of these items in their recently released FY 2020 measure. 

The path forward toward enacting a FY2020 DHS spending bill and protecting airport priorities is complicated by ongoing disputes regarding immigration and border protection and mandatory spending reductions across government that will go into effect in the new fiscal year absent a broad budget agreement between Congress and the administration.  Some key leaders have speculated that another government shutdown is a distinct possibility if agreements cannot be reached on overall spending levels and on border security.   


FY20 Appropriations:  On June 5, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for the Department of Homeland Security approved its version of the FY 2020 spending bill.  Within TSA, the measure restores $45 million for LEO grants and $59 million VIPR teams—both programs were eliminated in the administration’s request; provides $82 million for TSA staffing of airport exit lanes instead of shifting this responsibility to airports; provides $176 million for computed tomography (CT) screening equipment; restores funding for 1,097 canine teams first funded in FY 2019; and allocates $20 million for airport reimbursements of EDS machines.  For CBP, the measure funds a total of 1,200 new CBP officers, 1,029 more than requested, some of which will be deployed to airports.

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 bill stacks up against the FY 2019 enacted level and the administration’s FY 2020 budget request may be viewed here.


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