Nearly a third of Senate Democrats’ version of President Barack Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency supplemental appropriations spending bill for the border crisis will be spent on other issues than the border crisis if it were to pass, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee announced on Wednesday.
An analysis of the spending in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill released by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) shows that $615 million of the president’s spending request would be for wildfire fighting, and $225 million of the bill is for spending on the Iron Dome in Israel.
“The supplemental includes $615 million in emergency firefighting funds requested for the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service,” Mikulski’s Senate Appropriations Committee said in a release. It goes on:
These funds are needed to cover anticipated fire suppression funding shortfalls for the remainder of 2014. These funds will prevent the Forest Service from having to borrow money from other funds, such as fire prevention, timber and construction projects, or other programs. For the past two years, Congress has been forced to appropriate more than $1 billion to repay funds that were transferred from other programs to pay for firefighting shortfalls.The bill includes $225 million in Department of Defense emergency supplemental funding for Israel to procure additional Iron Dome interceptors,” the committee added. “The ongoing crisis in Israel and Gaza has resulted in thousands of rockets being launched at Israeli cities and towns, and the Iron Dome missile defense system has proven highly effective at neutralizing these threats.
For what the Democrats and the president say will deal with the border crisis, Mikulski’s committee says that $1.1 billion of the money will go to the Department of Homeland Security, $124.5 million to the Department of Justice, $1.2 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services, and $300 million to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The DHS money is meant for dealing with apprehending, detaining, and removing families and illegal aliens who don’t qualify for asylum—and helping people who do qualify through the process.
The DOJ money, Mikulksi’s team says, is for new judges and other legal costs like representation for the illegal aliens.
The HHS money is for handling the costs of housing and helping the illegal aliens while they’re in U.S. custody in various facilities across the country.
The USAID money is aimed at international law enforcement support, broadcasting services to send various messages into these foreign countries, and for various social services in those countries.
“The bill is a responsible solution,” Mikulski said in a Tuesday statement. “It provides a total of $3.57 billion to meet essential and immediate needs. The total amount of the President’s request will be needed. However, based on a review of what is needed in calendar year 2014 to meet needs at the border, the bill reduces the President’s request by $1 billion.”