Inside the $1.7 trillion funding bill: technology upgrade money, grants funding, dollars for school safety, standards projects, even new headquarters for FBI and DHS
In the final weeks of 2022, Congress unveiled, and quickly passed, a $1.7 trillion omnibus package to fund the government through September 2023.
The sweeping spending package is comprised of 12 annual appropriations bills and provides $772.5 billion in nondefense discretionary spending and $858 billion in defense funding, a nearly 10 percent increase over fiscal year 2022.
The legislative vehicle includes a number of funding provisions of interest to the security industry, including key grant programs that provide assistance for security equipment and technologies, among others.
Commerce and Justice Departments – $84.2 billion – an increase of $6.1 billion – 7.8 percent above fiscal year 2022
- Justice Department – $38 billion
- Commerce Department – $11.2 billion
- National Science Foundation – $9.5 billion – a 7.9 percent increase over fiscal year 2022
- $820 million to implement the CHIPS and Science Act (the bill provides more than $1.8 billion in funding to implement the CHIPS Act – $820 million in Commerce and Justice appropriations and $980 million in supplemental funding)
- $231 million for policing initiatives
- $175 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program
- $770 million for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants
- $860 million for the Executive Office of Immigration Review technology system upgrades
- $954 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology for measurement labs and research (a 12 percent increase over fiscal year 2022)
- The funding measure puts the spotlight on the STOP School Violence Act of 2018 – making sure to dedicate $82 million for related grants to be administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance and $53 million for competitive grants to be administered by the Community Oriented Policing Services Office known as the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP). Importantly, this will be supplemented by an additional $20 million appropriation provided under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act enacted in June 2022, for a total of $73 million in school security grants available through SVPP during the fiscal 2023 cycle.
- Additionally, the omnibus puts $120 million into initiatives to improve police-community relations, specifying that $35 million be used for a competitive matching grant program for purchases of body-worn cameras for State, local, and Tribal law enforcement.
Defense Department – $797.7 billion (largely reflecting funding levels set in the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act) – $69.3 billion more than in fiscal year 2022
- DOD Operation and Maintenance – $278.1 billion
- DOD Procurement – $162.2 billion
- DOD Research, Development, Test and Evaluation – $139.8 billion – 19.9 percent increase over fiscal year 2022 and more than twice the increase requested by the Biden Administration
- $400 million for microelectronic research and development set out in the CHIPS and Science Act
Energy Department – $54.7 billion
- Army Corps of Engineers – $8.6 billion – a $317 million increase over fiscal year 2022
- $8.1 billion in newly directed funding for DOE’s Science Office to help implement the CHIPS and Science Act
- $200 million for Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response to strengthen the resilience and security of the energy sector and reduce the risks of impacts from cybersecurity incursions – a $14 million increase above fiscal year 2022
Financial Services and General Government – $27.7 billion
- Internal Revenue Service – $12.3 billion
- Securities Exchange Commission – $2.2 billion
- Small Business Administration – $1.2 billion – an increase of $188 million over fiscal year 2022
- Executive Office of the President – $878 million – which includes $22 million for the Office of National Cyber Director
- Federal Trade Commission – $400 million
- Federal Communications Commission – $400 million
- $75 million for Election Security Grants to helps states counter cyberattacks
- $50 million for GSA’s Technology Modernization Fund to upgrade federal agency IT systems
- $320 million for SBA entrepreneurial development programs
- GSA will be allowed to spend $10 billion from the Federal Buildings Fund – including $375 million on a new FBI headquarters and $253 million for Homeland Security’s new headquarters.
Homeland Security Department – $60.7 billion in regular discretionary funds, plus an additional $19.9 billion categorized as disaster relief – an increase of $1.5 billion from fiscal year 2022 levels
- Federal Emergency Management Agency – $25.4 billion
- Customs and Border Protection – $16.5 billion – $1.8 billion more than the fiscal year 2022 and $1.3 billion more than the Biden Administration requested
- Transportation Security Administration – $9.3 billion
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement- $8.4 billion – $319.4 million more than the President’s budget, including $12 million above the request to accelerate ICE’s body-worn camera’s pilot program
- Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – $2.9 billion
- $581 million for CBP Procurement, Construction and Improvements – including $230.2 million for the acquisition and deployment of border security technologies
$1.9 billion for CBP and ICE to manage the high volume of migrants arriving at the US southern border
- $397.6 million for TSA workforce initiatives to address recruiting and retention
- $141.6 million for TSA to fund computed tomography, credential authentication technology and for explosive detection system reimbursements
- $900.5 million for the DHS Science and Technology Directorate
- $615 million for FEMA’s Urban Area Security Initiative
- $520 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program
- $305 million for a separate Nonprofit Security Grant Program
- $406.5 million for Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers
- $268 million for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – $133.4 million to be allocated to process the refugee admission goal of 125,000 individuals for fiscal year 2023
- $581.5 million for CBP procurement, construction and improvements – including the procurement of unmanned aerial systems
Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Departments – $164.9 billion
- Federal Highway Administration – 62.9 billion
- Federal Aviation Administration – $19 billion – a $564 million increase over fiscal year 2022
- $2.6 billion in total for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants
- $558.6 million for Airport Improvement Grants and projects
- $800 million for multimodal RAISE grants, referred to in the bill as National Infrastructure Investments
- $542 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants
Veterans Affairs – $154.2 billion
- Military Construction – $19 billion
- VA Construction – $2.1 billion – $1.45 billion specifically for Major Construction
Earmarks Included in Omnibus Bill
Lawmakers included 7,234 earmarks totaling $15.3 billion in the $1.7 trillion omnibus government funding package, with projects included for police equipment, highway infrastructure projects, and museums, among others.
Lawmakers revived the earmarking system for the second consecutive year after a decade-long ban on the practice.
House members got slightly more than senators, and Democrats will be sending more money to their districts than Republicans, though powerful retiring Republican senators secured more earmarks on an individual basis. Of the 12 appropriations bills in the omnibus, the Transportation-HUD measure was the top destination for earmarks, with 2,389 projects totaling nearly $5.6 billion.
Some of those earmarks with go toward:
- 194 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Tech) projects through the Department of Justice totaling $171 million – including body-worn camera projects, the acquisition of license plate recognition technology and cameras, communications equipment upgrades, long range acoustical device siren systems, tactical micro-robot systems, specialized vehicles, live scan fingerprint stations, barricades and related equipment and video surveillance systems.
- 257 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program projects through the Department of Justice totaling $225 million – including police technology modernization, community safety planning, design and programming, public safety upgrades, body-worn and in-car camera projects, law enforcement initiatives and public safety vehicles.
- 165 FEMA Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Grant Program initiatives through the Homeland Security Department totaling $317.4 million – including emergency operation centers, communications upgrades and modernization, public protection coordination and public safety facilities.
- Transportation Highway Infrastructure Programs, Transit Infrastructure Grants and Grants-in-Aid for Airports initiatives through the Transportation Department that include security fencing, security cameras, pedestrian crossing safety improvements and pedestrian collision avoidance systems, fire safety upgrades and security lighting projects.
Other Points of Interest
- The Department of Labor has been provided $13.8 billion – including $10.5 billion for the Employment and Training Administration, $2.9 billion for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants, $285 million for Registered Apprenticeships and $1. Billion for Job Corps.
- Final language included a body-cam pilot program for Capitol Police Officers at the Capitol Complex.
- The State Department will be provided $5.8 billion for embassy security to address upgrades and personnel needs at the 275 overseas diplomatic facilities.
- $8.9 billion will be dedicated to International Security Assistance for law enforcement activities, antiterrorism programs, international security efforts and bolstering airport security.
The omnibus package was a “must-pass” for lawmakers in order to avoid a government shutdown and negotiations went down to the wire.
Since flipping control of the Chamber, House leaders have indicated there will be a more open and transparent appropriations process for FY2024. It is yet to be determined if the practice of including earmarks, which were only added back into the budgeting process when Democrats swept control of the House and the Senate in 2020, will continue in some form under Republican leadership in the House.