President Obama on Wednesday threatened to veto the 2013 Homeland Security spending bill over budget cuts to the Federal Air Marshals Service, data center consolidation, establishment of a new headquarters, and other programs.
HR 5855, which the House Appropriations Committee approved May 16, would provide $39.1 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which would be $484 million below 2012 levels and $393 million below what Obama requested.
The bill budgets almost $880 million for the Federal Air Marshals Service, which would be $50 million less than Obama’s request and almost $87 million less than in 2012. Obama said this will force FAMS to reduce coverage on high-risk flights.
The bill would also cut $89 million in requested funding for Homeland Security’s new consolidated headquarters at the St. Elizabeths complex in Washington. And it would provide no funds to consolidate Homeland Security’s data centers. Obama said these projects are crucial to strengthen Homeland Security’s operations and increase efficiency in future years.
Obama also objected to the bill’s provisions that would freeze federal employees’ pay for a third year. Obama has proposed a 0.5 percent pay raise in 2013.
And Obama opposes the bill’s funding of 1,200 beds to house detained illegal immigrants that Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not request.