230621 FY24 Homeland Security House Approps
Vice President, Government Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
June 21, 2023
Dear Chair Granger and Ranking Member DeLauro:
As the Committee prepares to mark up the Fiscal Year 2024 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges you to consider the following policy and funding recommendations, which would promote business and economic growth, improve security and resilience, and facilitate cross-border trade and travel.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP): The Chamber supports full funding for the CBP to hire additional customs officers, agricultural specialists, and support personnel to secure the border and facilitate the legal movement of goods and people at America’s ports of entry. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) staffing needs are hampering CBP’s ability to keep pace with the long-term growth in trade and tourists at our ports of entry, so providing this funding would demonstrate the Committee’s commitment to supporting cross border economic growth, consumer safety, and security. We strongly believe that additional funding for Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Border Patrol to obtain additional human, physical, and technological resources will improve our nation’s border security efforts.
Further, the Chamber continues to support funding CBP initiatives that will modernize security and trade processes, including programs like the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and the International Trade Data System (ITDS) single window that will help decrease the transaction cost of trade, open trade to small- and medium-sized businesses, and improve targeting capabilities for government. We urge Congress to continue supporting CBP and to provide appropriate funding to strengthen these programs.
The Chamber also urges the Committee to continue monitoring the funding shortfall due to the decrease in fees collected at ports of entry. We are concerned that this funding shortfall will result in service disruptions at ports of entry, especially as we move into the fall and the holiday season. Ports of entry are critical conduits to trade and tourism and service disruptions at these ports will pose new and unwelcome challenges to a recovering economy, while also increasing security and consumer safety risks. It is critical that Congress act to ensure no service interruptions at our ports of entry.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: The Chamber supports sufficient supplemental funding to address the agency’s severe processing backlogs.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA): The Chamber supports providing full funding to the TSA to include additional staffing, overtime flexibility, technology, “Pre-Check” marketing support, and canine teams, to appropriately secure and facilitate the legitimate movement of air travelers. Travel and tourism are critical to economic growth, and these resources are critical to assist these industries in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Wait times at airports are dramatically impacting these industries, and Congress should do all it can to help TSA develop effective staffing models and adopt emerging technology for risk-based security strategies to minimize congestion.
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): The Chamber supports full funding for CISA. CISA plays a critical role in facilitating the development of tools, plans, and best practices to improve America’s cybersecurity posture. It also closely collaborates with industry in responding to several high-profile cyberattacks against government and business entities.
U.S. Secret Service: The Chamber supports full funding for the United States Secret Service and their Cyber and Fraud Task Force’s (ECTF) to enhance their efforts to combat cybercrime, including business email compromise and ransomware, fraud, terrorism, and espionage.
Intellectual Property Enforcement: The Chamber also supports full funding for intellectual property enforcement to CBP, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). Economic analysis of resources invested in IPR enforcement has shown that every dollar spent on federal IPR enforcement efforts generates four dollars in increased tax revenues through increased jobs and economic growth. Counterfeits, and more recently, counterfeits traveling through low-value, small parcel shipments, also pose a health and safety risk. The work of ICE and CBP, individually and through coordination with other agencies engaged at the IPR Center, has been recognized and praised for its energy and effectiveness.
H-2B Visas: Small and seasonal businesses across America are genuinely concerned about their inability to meet work force needs domestically. The Chamber supports the inclusion of measures that will provide cap relief for the employers of H-2B nonimmigrants. The additional visas will provide these businesses not only with the ability to meet their seasonal workforce needs, but also the added certainty that will allow their company to grow and create more jobs for American workers.
Meeting the challenges of securing America’s borders from all types of threats and facilitating safe travel, tourism and trade with our neighbors are crucial priorities for the business community. The Chamber appreciates your consideration of these recommendations as you mark up the Fiscal Year 2024 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
Neil L. Bradley
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer,
and Head of Strategic Advocacy
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
cc: Members of the House Committee on Appropriations
About the authors
Timothy (Tim) serves as Vice President, Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is active in Republican politics and has been working on behalf of GOP candidates at the federal and state levels for the past 29 years.