June 22, 2022
Dear Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger:
As the Committee prepares to mark up the Fiscal Year 2023 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 $15.74 billion for the CBP to hire additional customs officers, agricultural specialists, and support personnel that would facilitate the 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 and this funding demonstrates the Committee’s commitment to supporting cross border economic growth, consumer safety, and security.
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 drop 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.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA): The Chamber supports providing $9.77 billion in 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 both business and U.S. 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 in working with the TSA to 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 $2.93 billion for CISA, an increase of $334.1 million above the FY 2022 enacted level and $417.1 million above the administration’s request. 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.
SAFETY Act Program: The Chamber supports the increase of $4.7 million for the Office of SAFETY Act Implementation. The SAFETY Act program gives industry an important incentive to develop state-of-the-art security technologies to combat terrorism at home and abroad, as well as mitigate cyberattacks. However, it faces several challenges that Congress, the administration, and the business community must address immediately. The Chamber is discussing our concerns with DHS officials, including that OSAI evaluation timelines (which have become overextended) must conform to DHS regulations and reviewer requests for information need to be dramatically streamlined. The SAFETY Act program is one of the best examples of public-private partnerships in action that is devoted to protecting U.S. homeland and economic security. Still, even successful programs need to be periodically evaluated to fix weaknesses and improve over time.
U.S. Secret Service: The Chamber supports the $2.73 billion 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 of $15 million 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 very concerned about their inability to meet their workforce 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 2023 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