Trends in the Timing and Size of DHS Appropriations: In Brief

(TO BE SUPPRESSED) Department of Homeland Security DHS budget Appropriations FY2019, FY2018 funding analysis

Trends in the Timing and Size of DHS Appropriations: In Brief

August 7, 2018 (R44604)

Introduction

This report examines trends in the timing and size of homeland security appropriations measures.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was officially established on January 24, 2003. Just over a week later, on February 3, 2003, the Administration made its first annual appropriations request for the new department.1 Transfers of most of the department's personnel and resources from their existing agencies to DHS occurred March 1, 2003, and on April 16, the department received its first supplemental appropriations.

March 1, 2003, fell in the middle of fiscal year 2003 (FY2003). It was not the end of a fiscal quarter. It was not even the end of a pay period for the employees transferred to the department. Despite these administrative complications, resources and employees were transferred to the control of the department and their work continued without interruption in the face of the perceived terror threat against the United States. Thus, since the department did receive appropriations and operate in FY2003, tracking the size and timing of annual appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security begins with its first annual appropriations cycle, covering FY2004.

DHS Appropriations Trends: Timing

Annual Appropriations

Figure 1 shows the history of the timing of the annual DHS appropriations bills as they have moved through various stages of the legislative process. Initially, DHS appropriations were enacted relatively promptly, as stand-alone legislation. However, over time, the DHS appropriations bill has been subject to the consolidation and delayed timing that has affected other annual appropriations legislation. The FY2017 appropriations cycle marked the latest finalization of DHS annual appropriations levels in the history of the DHS Appropriations Act.

When annual appropriations for part of the government are not enacted prior to the beginning of the fiscal year, a continuing resolution is usually enacted to provide stopgap funding and allow operations to continue. As Figure 1 shows, at the beginning of FY2014, for the first time in the history of the department, neither annual appropriations nor a continuing resolution had been enacted by the start of the fiscal year. Annual appropriations lapsed, leading to a partial shutdown of government operations, including DHS.2

In FY2018, two brief lapses in appropriations occurred with the expiration of continuing resolutions. The first occurred January 20, 2018, and was resolved on January 22 by the enactment of P.L. 115-120, which extended the continuing resolution through February 8, 2018. The second occurred February 9, 2018, when the extension provided by P.L. 115-120 expired, and lasted a matter of hours, until P.L. 115-123 was enacted, which included an extension of the continuing resolution through March 23, 2018, as Division B. The short duration of these lapses precludes their inclusion in the figure.

Figure 1. DHS Appropriations Legislative Timing, FY2004-FY2019

Source: Analysis of presidential budget request release dates and legislative action from the Legislative Information System (LIS) available at http://www.congress.gov.

Notes: Final action on the annual appropriations for DHS for FY2011, FY2013, FY2014, FY2015, FY2017, and FY2018 did not occur until after the beginning of the new calendar year.

Supplemental Appropriations

In contrast to the annual appropriations measures tracked in Figure 1, supplemental appropriations move on a more ad hoc basis, when an unanticipated need for additional funding arises. Therefore, they are not reflected in the above calendar graphic.

Supplemental funding was provided more often prior to passage of the Budget Control Act in 2011,3 when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) often would require supplemental appropriations for the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) after a disaster struck to ensure resources would be available for initial recovery efforts. The Budget Control Act created a special limited exemption from the limits on discretionary spending for funding the federal costs of response to major disasters. This limited exemption has allowed FEMA to operate with a more robust balance in the DRF and thus be more prepared to respond after a major disaster without immediate replenishment by a supplemental appropriations bill. The increased availability of these resources has allowed the timing of supplemental appropriations driven by disaster relief funding for DHS to slow down, as there is a perception that emergency needs can be met by redirecting FEMA's existing resources.

This shift in timing can be seen by comparing the Hurricane Katrina supplemental appropriations in 2005 to the Hurricane Sandy supplemental appropriations in 2012-2013. At the time Hurricane Sandy made landfall, FEMA had over $7 billion available in the DRF,4 almost three times more than was on hand when Hurricane Katrina came ashore.5

After Hurricane Katrina, the first in a series of supplemental appropriations requests was made three days from the date of disaster declaration and were enacted a day after that. After the first bill provided $10 billion for the DRF, six days later another $50 billion in appropriations was provided for the DRF—along with $2 billion for the Department of Defense, including the Army Corps of Engineers. Three and a half months later, more than $23.4 billion of that DRF funding would be rescinded and appropriated for use by other programs in a third supplemental appropriations act.

In contrast, after Hurricane Sandy, a more detailed supplemental appropriations request was submitted to Congress 38 days after the declaration and responding appropriations were enacted three months from the date of declaration.6 Funding was provided to a range of specific programs, and the $11.5 billion appropriated for the DRF only represented 19% of the request and 23% of the appropriations provided in P.L. 113-2. No large-scale rescissions and reappropriations were conducted.

The legislative response to the hurricanes and wildfires of late 2017 moved more quickly than the "Sandy supplemental," as the storm struck shortly before the end of the fiscal year, and the DRF carried an unobligated balance of roughly $3.5 billion.7 The Administration made its initial request for additional resources on September 1, 2017, a week after Hurricane Harvey was declared a major disaster, and the first of three supplemental appropriations bills was enacted on September 8, 2017. As time elapsed from the storms, a second request for supplemental appropriations was made a month later, and a third, much more specific request was made about six weeks after that. In all, nearly $50 billion would be appropriated to the DRF in supplemental appropriations after the 2017 disaster season.8

DHS Appropriations Trends: Size

The tables and figure below present information on DHS discretionary appropriations, as enacted, for FY2004 through FY2018. Table 1 provides data in nominal dollars, while Table 2 provides data in constant FY2017 dollars to allow for comparisons over time. Figure 2 represents Table 2's data in a visual format.

The totals include annual appropriations as well as supplemental appropriations.

Making comparisons over time of the department's appropriations as a whole is complicated by a variety of factors, the two most significant of which are the frequency of supplemental appropriations for the department, and the impact of disaster assistance funding.

Supplemental funding, which frequently addresses congressional priorities, such as disaster assistance and border security, varies widely from year to year and as a result distorts year-to-year comparisons of total appropriations for DHS. The department received over $5 billion in supplemental funding in its initial fiscal year of operations, in addition to all the resources transferred with the department's components. Twenty-one separate supplemental appropriations acts have provided appropriations to the department since it was established. Gross supplemental appropriations provided to the department in those acts exceed $120 billion.

Table 1 and Table 2, in their second and third columns, provide amounts of new discretionary budget authority provided to DHS from FY2004 through FY2018, and a total for each fiscal year in the fourth column.

Disaster assistance funding is another key part of DHS appropriations. FEMA is one of DHS's larger component budgets, and funding for the DRF, which funds a large portion of the costs incurred by the federal government in the wake of disasters, is a significant driver of that budget. Of the billions of dollars provided to the DRF each year, only a single-digit percentage of this funding goes to pay for FEMA personnel and administrative costs tied to disasters; the remainder is provided as assistance to states, communities, and individuals. The gross level of funding provided to the DRF has varied widely since the establishment of DHS depending on the occurrence and size of disasters, from more than $60 billion in FY2005 to less than $3 billion in FY2008. Table 1 and Table 2, in their fifth columns, provide the amount of new budget authority provided to the DRF, and in the sixth column, show the total new budget authority provided to DHS without counting the DRF.

Figure 2 presents two perspectives on the overall total in constant FY2017 dollars:

  • the top graph shows the split between annual and supplemental appropriations for DHS,
  • the second chart breaks out the DRF from the rest of DHS discretionary appropriations.

In nominal and constant dollars, FY2018 appropriations (excluding the DRF) represented the highest funding level for the department, surpassing the mark set in FY2017 for nominal dollars and FY2010 for constant dollars. This "high-water mark" is further elevated due to the inclusion in the FY2018 total of $16 billion in debt cancellation for the National Flood Insurance Program, which was provided through the first FY2018 disaster supplemental appropriations act (P.L. 115-72, Div. A.). It is worth noting, however, that this FY2018 funding level exceeds the previous years' levels even without including the debt cancellation.

In constant dollars, FY2005 appropriations (excluding the DRF) represented the lowest level of appropriations for the DHS budget. In FY2013, sequestration reduced constant-dollar non-DRF funding levels for the department by $1.3 billion—to their lowest level since FY2009.

Table 1. DHS New Discretionary Budget Authority, FY2004-FY2018

(billions of dollars of budget authority)

Fiscal Year 

Annual Appropriations

Supplemental Appropriations

Total

Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) Funding

Total Less DRF Funding

FY2004

$29,809

$2,523

$32,333

$4,300

$28,033

FY2005

29,557

67,330

96,887

68,542

28,345

FY2006

30,995

8,217

39,212

7,770

31,442

FY2007

34,047

5,161

39,208

5,610

33,598

FY2008

37,809

897

38,706

2,297

36,409

FY2009

40,070

3,243

43,312

9,360

33,952

FY2010

42,817

5,570

48,387

6,700

41,687

FY2011

42,477

42,477

2,650

39,827

FY2012

40,062

6,400

46,462

7,100

39,362

FY2013

46,555

12,072

58,627

18,495

40,132

FY2013 post-sequester

44,971

11,468

56,439

17,566

38,873

FY2014

45,817

45,817

6,221

39,596

FY2015

47,215

47,215

7,033

40,182

FY2016

49,334

49,334

7,375

41,959

FY2017

49,627

8,540

58,167

14,729

43,439

FY2018

55,740

59,324

115,064

50,071

64,994

Sources: CRS analysis of congressional appropriations documents: for FY2004, H.Rept. 108-280 (accompanying P.L. 108-90), H.Rept. 108-76 (accompanying P.L. 108-11), P.L. 108-69, P.L. 108-106, and P.L. 108-303; for FY2005, H.Rept. 108-774 (accompanying P.L. 108-334), P.L. 108-324, P.L. 109-13, P.L. 109-61, and P.L. 109-62; for FY2006, H.Rept. 109-241 (accompanying P.L. 109-90), P.L. 109-148, and P.L. 109-234; for FY2007, H.Rept. 109-699 (accompanying P.L. 109-295) and P.L. 110-28; for FY2008, Division E of the House Appropriations Committee Print (accompanying P.L. 110-161) and P.L. 110-252; for FY2009, Division D of House Appropriations Committee Print (accompanying P.L. 110-329), P.L. 111-5, P.L. 111-8, and P.L. 111-32; for FY2010, H.Rept. 111-298 (accompanying P.L. 111-83), P.L. 111-212, and P.L. 111-230; for FY2011, P.L. 112-10 and H.Rept. 112-331 (accompanying P.L. 112-74); for FY2012, H.Rept. 112-331 (accompanying P.L. 112-74) and P.L. 112-77; for FY2013, Senate explanatory statement (accompanying P.L. 113-6), P.L. 113-2, the DHS Fiscal Year 2013 Post-Sequestration Operating Plan dated April 26, 2013, and financial data from the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force Home Page at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/sandyrebuilding/recoveryprogress; for FY2014, the explanatory statement accompanying P.L. 113-76; for FY2015, P.L. 114-4 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of January 13, 2015, pp. H275-H322; for FY2016, Div. F of P.L. 114-113 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of December 17, 2015, pp. H10161-H10210; for FY2017, Div. F of P.L. 115-31, its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of May 3, 2017, pp. H3807-H3873, and P.L. 115-56; for FY2018, P.L. 115-141 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of March 22, 2018, pp. H2544-H2608, and P.L. 115-72, Div. A, and P.L. 115-123, Div. B.

Notes: Emergency funding, appropriations for overseas contingency operations, and funding for disaster relief under the Budget Control Act's allowable adjustment are included. Transfers from the Department of Defense and advance appropriations are not included. Emergency funding in regular appropriations bills is treated as regular appropriations. Numbers in italics do not reflect the impact of sequestration. Numbers are rounded to the nearest million, but as operations were performed with unrounded data, columns may not add to totals.

Table 2. DHS New Discretionary Budget Authority, FY2017 Dollars, FY2004-FY2018

(billions of dollars of budget authority, adjusted for inflation)

Fiscal Year

Regular

Supplemental

Total

Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) Funding

Total Less DRF Funding

FY2004

$38,296

$3,242

$41,537

$5,524

$36,013

FY2005

36,704

83,612

120,316

85,117

35,199

FY2006

37,203

9,863

47,066

9,326

37,740

FY2007

39,816

6,035

45,852

6,561

39,291

FY2008

42,723

1,014

43,736

2,596

41,141

FY2009

45,187

3,657

48,843

10,555

38,288

FY2010

47,539

6,184

53,723

7,439

46,284

FY2011

46,082

46,082

2,875

43,207

FY2012

42,609

6,807

49,416

7,551

41,865

FY2013

48,881

12,675

61,557

19,419

42,137

FY2013 post-sequester

47,220

12,041

56,261

18,444

40,817

FY2014

47,380

47,380

6,433

40,947

FY2015

48,528

48,528

7,229

41,299

FY2016

50,279

50,279

7,516

42,763

FY2017

49,627

8,540

58,167

14,729

43,439

FY2018

54,583

58,093

112,676

49,032

63,645

Sources: CRS analysis of congressional appropriations documents: for FY2004, H.Rept. 108-280 (accompanying P.L. 108-90), H.Rept. 108-76 (accompanying P.L. 108-11), P.L. 108-69, P.L. 108-106, and P.L. 108-303; for FY2005, H.Rept. 108-774 (accompanying P.L. 108-334), P.L. 108-324, P.L. 109-13, P.L. 109-61, and P.L. 109-62; for FY2006, H.Rept. 109-241 (accompanying P.L. 109-90), P.L. 109-148, and P.L. 109-234; for FY2007, H.Rept. 109-699 (accompanying P.L. 109-295) and P.L. 110-28; for FY2008, Division E of the House Appropriations Committee Print (accompanying P.L. 110-161) and P.L. 110-252; for FY2009, Division D of House Appropriations Committee Print (accompanying P.L. 110-329), P.L. 111-5, P.L. 111-8, and P.L. 111-32; for FY2010, H.Rept. 111-298 (accompanying P.L. 111-83), P.L. 111-212, and P.L. 111-230; for FY2011, P.L. 112-10 and H.Rept. 112-331 (accompanying P.L. 112-74); for FY2012, H.Rept. 112-331 (accompanying P.L. 112-74) and P.L. 112-77; for FY2013, Senate explanatory statement (accompanying P.L. 113-6), P.L. 113-2, the DHS Fiscal Year 2013 Post-Sequestration Operating Plan dated April 26, 2013, and financial data from the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force Home Page at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/sandyrebuilding/recoveryprogress; for FY2014, the explanatory statement accompanying P.L. 113-76; for FY2015, P.L. 114-4 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of January 13, 2015, pp. H275-H322; for FY2016, Div. F of P.L. 114-113 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of December 17, 2015, pp. H10161-H10210; for FY2017, Div. F of P.L. 115-31 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of May 3, 2017, pp. H3807-H3873, and P.L. 115-56; for FY2018, P.L. 115-141 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of March 22, 2018, pp. H2544-H2608, and P.L. 115-72, Div. A, and P.L. 115-123, Div. B. Deflator based on data in Table 1.3, Historical Tables, Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2019, as retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals on March 23, 2018.

Notes: Emergency funding, appropriations for overseas contingency operations, and funding for disaster relief under the Budget Control Act's allowable adjustment are included. Transfers from the Department of Defense and advance appropriations are not included. Emergency funding in regular appropriations bills is treated as regular appropriations. Numbers in italics do not reflect the impact of sequestration. Numbers are rounded to the nearest million, but as operations were performed with unrounded data, columns may not add to totals.

Figure 2. DHS Appropriations, FY2004-FY2018, Showing Supplemental Appropriations and the DRF

(in billions of constant FY2017 dollars)

Sources: CRS analysis of congressional appropriations documents: for FY2004, H.Rept. 108-280 (accompanying P.L. 108-90), H.Rept. 108-76 (accompanying P.L. 108-11), P.L. 108-69, P.L. 108-106, and P.L. 108-303; for FY2005, H.Rept. 108-774 (accompanying P.L. 108-334), P.L. 108-324, P.L. 109-13, P.L. 109-61, and P.L. 109-62; for FY2006, H.Rept. 109-241 (accompanying P.L. 109-90), P.L. 109-148, and P.L. 109-234; for FY2007, H.Rept. 109-699 (accompanying P.L. 109-295) and P.L. 110-28; for FY2008, Division E of the House Appropriations Committee Print (accompanying P.L. 110-161) and P.L. 110-252; for FY2009, Division D of House Appropriations Committee Print (accompanying P.L. 110-329), P.L. 111-5, P.L. 111-8, and P.L. 111-32; for FY2010, H.Rept. 111-298 (accompanying P.L. 111-83), P.L. 111-212, and P.L. 111-230; for FY2011, P.L. 112-10 and H.Rept. 112-331 (accompanying P.L. 112-74); for FY2012, H.Rept. 112-331 (accompanying P.L. 112-74) and P.L. 112-77; for FY2013, Senate explanatory statement (accompanying P.L. 113-6), P.L. 113-2, the DHS Fiscal Year 2013 Post-Sequestration Operating Plan dated April 26, 2013, and financial data from the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force Home Page at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/sandyrebuilding/recoveryprogress; for FY2014, the explanatory statement accompanying P.L. 113-76; for FY2015, P.L. 114-4 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of January 13, 2015, pp. H275-H322; for FY2016, Div. F of P.L. 114-113 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of December 17, 2015, pp. H10161-H10210; for FY2017, Div. F of P.L. 115-31 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of May 3, 2017, pp. H3807-H3873, and P.L. 115-54; for FY2018, P.L. 115-141 and its explanatory statement as printed in the Congressional Record of March 22, 2018, pp. H2544-H2608, and P.L. 115-72, Div. A, and P.L. 115-123, Div. B.

Notes: Emergency funding, appropriations for overseas contingency operations, and funding for disaster relief under the Budget Control Act's allowable adjustment are included. Transfers from the Department of Defense and advance appropriations are not included. Emergency funding in regular appropriations bills is treated as regular appropriations. FY2013 reflects the impact of sequestration.

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Specialist in Homeland Security and Appropriations ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

1.

The Budget for Fiscal Year 2004, Department of Homeland Security, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BUDGET-2004-APP/pdf/BUDGET-2004-APP-1-11.pdf.

2.

For additional information, see CRS Report R43252, FY2014 Appropriations Lapse and the Department of Homeland Security: Impact and Legislation, by [author name scrubbed].

3.

P.L. 112-25.

4.

Abd Phillip, "After Sandy, FEMA Goes from Goat to Glory," ABC News, October 31, 2012, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/superstorm-fema-disaster-response-praised/story?id=17599970#.UJE7V9WgWNM.

5.

Rep. Jerry Lewis, "Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act to Meet Immediate Needs Arising from the Consequences of Hurricane Katrina, 2005," House Debate, Congressional Record, vol. 151 (September 2, 2005), p. H7618.

6.

More comparative timeframes for pre-Budget Control Act supplemental appropriations are available in CRS Report R42352, An Examination of Federal Disaster Relief Under the Budget Control Act, by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed]. Information on P.L. 113-2 can be found in CRS Report R44937, Congressional Action on the FY2013 Disaster Supplemental.

7.

Phone conversation with FEMA legislative affairs staff, August 28, 2017.

8.

For more information, see CRS Report R45084, 2017 Disaster Supplemental Appropriations: Overview.