Rogers Opening Statement at DHS Budget Hearing

WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), House Homeland Security Committee ranking member, today delivered an opening statement at a full committee hearing entitled, “A Review of the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Request for the Department of Homeland Security.”

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today. Thank you, Mr. Acting Secretary for being here today with us. We look forward to hearing for you

The past year has been a challenging one for DHS. Last year, this country saw record migrants crossing our southern border.

Over a million men, women, and children swamped our immigration system in a matter of months.
It strained the resources of the Department. But, the men and women of DHS responded to this crisis with dedication and professionalism.

Congress was slow to act but we finally provided supplemental resources to address the crisis. And it was a crisis.

Yet, one year ago last week, my Democrat colleagues tweeted: “There’s no national emergency at the border, plain and simple.”

Because of this Administration‘s bold actions, we are no longer seeing the record-breaking levels of migration at our southern border so far this year.

I’m deeply disappointed that, for political reasons, folks can’t and won’t acknowledge this simple fact: President Trump’s policies are succeeding where other Administrations have failed.

The President’s budget fully funds his successful border strategy and rightly doubles down on the wall. However, the Department faces more challenges in the year ahead.

Election security, cybersecurity, and the coronavirus response will test DHS resources and management.

I’m concerned about cuts to CISA, slashing critical FEMA grant programs, the termination of the CFATS program, and removal of the Secret Service from DHS.

I know the Chairman and I agree on these points. Those cuts directly impede important efforts to secure our country.

While I disagree with parts of the 2021 budget request, I believe that Congress has also failed DHS.
We owe it to this department to provide direction in a regular, comprehensive reauthorization.

We cannot expect the Department to function with haphazard direction and funding authorizations from 2002.
I understand that the Majority intendeds to markup a bill to reform part of DHS headquarters next month.

Mr. Chairman, you and I have both called for a full and robust DHS authorization. I hope that is what this Committee considers in April.

We may have different approaches and proposals, but we want the same thing. We want this Department to function.

I look forward to discussing this legislation with you Mr. Chairman. I also wanted to address the evolving coronavirus outbreak.

Our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones and those who are currently undergoing treatment.
This pandemic is a global event and I’m concerned not only with our preparedness but the global response.

I remain concerned that Chinese officials knowingly withheld essential information from both the public and the international health community in the most critical stages of this outbreak.

I’m sure that the early days of this outbreak will be under intense scrutiny once the crisis is over. My deepest concern for the moment is the level of preparedness at the state and local level.

I hope to hear from the Secretary today and from other witnesses over the next week about our efforts to prepare communities.

Last week, I urged the House to act in a swift and non-partisan fashion to approve an emergency supplemental for this public health emergency.

Hopefully the House can live up to this moment and act quickly. Thank you again Mr. Secretary for joining us.

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