Issue: H.R. 5855 Making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes.
Result: Passed House, 234 to 182, 15 not voting. Died in Senate. Superseded by September Continuing Resolution (Roll Call 579). Republicans scored.
Bill Summary: H.R. 5855 proposed $5.5 billion for the disaster relief fund and $39.1 billion in discretionary budget authority for operations funded through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for Fiscal Year 2013.
Discretionary budget authority in the bill was $484 million or 1.2 percent less than last year and $393 million or 1 percent below the President’s request.
Analysis: With 230,000 employees, the Department of Homeland Security is now the third largest Cabinet department, after the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The mission of DHS has been enlarged from its original objective of preventing terrorism to address all kinds of domestic emergencies and threats.
Department of Homeland Security appropriations include funding for all components and functions of DHS, including Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Transportation Security Administration (TSA); Coast Guard (USCG); Secret Service (USSS); the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), which includes Infrastructure Protection and Information Security (IPIS) and the Federal Protective Service (FPS); the Office of Health Affairs (OHA); the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC); the Science and Technology directorate (S&T); the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO); departmental management, Analysis and Operations (A&O), and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
H.R. 5855 would continue funding a mix of important constitutional and dangerous, unconstitutional programs, a common legislative tactic used to reduce political opposition to the unconstitutional part.
Congress was stampeded into establishing the federal Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But the federal power grab had long been in the planning by Establishment Insiders. Indeed, Foundation support for plans to gain federal control over local police, such as the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, date back as least as far as the 1960s.
Writing in the F.B.I. Law Enforcement Bulletin for February 1968, F.B.I Director J. Edgar Hoover declared:
“Law-abiding citizens and local officials should vigorously oppose concerted attacks against law enforcement and the devious moves to negate local authority and replace it with Federal police power.”
In early May of 1969, Hoover warned against the danger of a national police force. He said: “We need to safeguard against encroachments upon the legitimate authority of state and local law enforcement agencies.”
Centralization of power may seem like the efficient way to get things done, but it also undermines accountability, and in the case of national security, centralization paves the way for a dangerous abuse of power.
The day before the House vote, the White House issued a “Statement of Administration Policy,” strongly objecting to the cuts in H.R. 5855 and threatening a veto.
The president and Democratic congressional leaders have insisted that any cuts below those agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011 were violations of a sacred agreement. Most Republicans, on the other hand, insisted that the BCA was only a start and that much more needed to be done to reduce deficits and debt.
When the House voted on H.R. 5855, most Democrats seemed to side with the president. Only 17 Democrats voted for passage.
On the other hand, 16 Republicans apparently felt that the cuts proposed in H.R. 5855 were too modest and also objected to the bill. Representative John Campbell of California had written a few months earlier that the biggest national security threat is debt and that DHS programs should not be immune from cuts.
All but two of the 16 Republicans voting against final passage of H.R. 5855 supported an amendment to trim the bill by 2 percent or $640 million. The amendment was rejected 88 to 316 (Roll Call 368).
We have only scored the Republican votes on H.R. 5855.
As noted above, the measure died in the Senate. Instead, the House agreed to fund the government through March 27, 2013 via H.J. Res. 117, a Continuing Appropriations Resolution.
In 2013, the new Congress approved the FY2013 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, which the president signed into law on March 26. That Act restored DHS funding for FY2013 to approximately the level the president originally proposed.
So the House failed to defend even the inadequate cuts contained in its own appropriations bills.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Background: There is no question that terrorism is a serious threat. But an even more serious threat are the Establishment Insiders who helped create and sustain the primary originator of the international terrorist movement — the Soviet Union — and then actively covered up the Soviet role in training and supporting terrorist organizations and their state sponsors.
(See, for example, Ray S. Cline and Yonah Alexander, Terrorism: The Soviet Connection (New York: Crane, Russak & Co., 1984) and Claire Sterling, The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston and Reader’s Digest Press, 1981).
Following the break-up of the former Soviet Union, the U.S. Establishment elevated several threats, real or merely purported, to the status of global crises. Examples included the proliferation of small arms, man-made global warming, and terrorism. We were then told that in order to combat these crises effectively, all nations, including America, would need to accept increased international authority from such institutions as the UN (sometimes quite properly referred to as “Terrorists ‘R Us”).
Of course, building UN authority was another long-standing Internationalist objective. Never mentioned, U.S. officials had no constitutional authority for such subordination.
But there is another part to the indictment — the decades-long campaign to strip America of her multiple layers of internal security so that she would be naked to terrorist attacks and then using the resulting catastrophes to drive forward totalitarian measures.
Until the early 1970s, America could boast of multiple layers of efficient and effective defense against terrorism and subversion. This layered protection also prevented the oppression that could come from heavily centralized police powers.
But this multi-layered security structure began to unravel in the 1970s. During that decade, radicals in Congress succeeded in abolishing the Subversive Activities Control Board, the Internal Security Division of the Justice Department, the House Internal Security Committee, and the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security. Congress also killed the counter-intelligence units of the armed forces.
Soon to follow were the investigative committees of state legislatures and the intelligence units of state and local police organizations. In 1981, the Senate briefly reestablished the Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism. Constantly underfunded, the Subcommittee was scrapped again in 1987.
The FBI’s counterintelligence activities and investigations were also crippled in 1976 by the guidelines issued by Attorney General Edward Levi. Levi served as attorney general under President Gerald Ford. Incredibly, Levi had been a member of the National Lawyers Guild, a notorious Communist front that represented Cuba in American courts. Under pressure, subsequent attorneys general would revise the most restrictive of the disastrous Levi guidelines, a small step at restoring some sanity.
In the December 1984 Reader’s Digest, Eugene Methvin described the pathetic condition of our internal security apparatus:
“While the terrorists were preparing a massive campaign of kidnapping, assassination, and bombing, the United States had virtually disbanded its domestic-intelligence apparatus. Civil-liberty lawsuits had vitiated or destroyed police-intelligence units across the country. In the five years before the Nyack attack, the FBI’s informants in political-terrorist groups had been cut from 1,100 to fewer than 50. When a joint task force was set up to handle the Nyack case, neither the N.Y.P.D. nor the FBI had any worthwhile intelligence files to draw on.”
Our congressional investigative committees represented a particularly great loss. An important responsibility of Congress is to hold the executive and judicial branches accountable for upholding our laws regarding internal security. In the past, congressional committees had been so successful in exposing top Soviet agents, such as Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Virginius Frank Coe, Gregory Silvermaster, and many others, that the committees had been targeted for destruction by the Communist Party and its allies.
Although the campaign against our internal security apparatus was launched by the Communist Party USA as far back as the 1920s, the Establishment offered no effective resistance and often joined in the attacks, which eventually succeeded in the 1970s.
The campaign was clearly intended to blind law enforcement and intelligence agencies so the terrorists could operate freely. Much of the destruction can be traced to organizations, such as the ACLU, supported by Establishment foundations.
Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a new, much more intrusive security apparatus was created to fill the vacuum. But it was a sad exchange. The multi-layered system that had been destroyed was efficient and compatible with liberty. It provided invaluable redundancy while dispersing power.
Unfortunately, under the post-9/11 system, a broad-based federalization of police powers concentrates the responsibility for America’s security in the hands of one department. It will be very difficult to hold this system accountable for failure or abuse.