The League of Conservation Voters led 8 environmental organizations in sending the below letter to the House of Representatives urging Members to oppose the following amendments to H.R. 4367, the 2024 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, when they come up for votes. The League of Conservation Voters will strongly consider including votes related to these amendments in our 2023 National Environmental Scorecard.
September 27, 2023
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Amendment Vote Recommendations on H.R. 4367, the House 2024 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.
Dear Member of Congress,
On behalf of our many members and supporters, the 8 undersigned groups make the following vote recommendations on amendments to H.R. 4367, the 2024 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. While not all undersigned organizations work directly on each of these issues, we appreciate your consideration of these pro-environmental positions.
Thank you for your consideration,
League of Conservation Voters
Clean Water Action
Defenders of Wildlife
IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare
Natural Resources Defense Council
40. Biggs (AZ). Election security is national security. At a time when we know foreign adversaries and hackers seek to disrupt our elections systems, we need the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency staffed and funded to protect the integrity of democratic process for all voters, no matter who they support or where they live.
56. Greene (GA). The Department of Homeland Security plays a vital role in both reducing climate-related risks and vulnerabilities to Americans and responding to climate disasters and emergencies when they occur. This amendment would prohibit funding for the DHS Climate Change Action Group – a coordinating mechanism of senior DHS leadership that is charged with uniting, refocusing, and elevating the department’s cross-functional efforts to address the climate crisis. If passed, this amendment would impede the agency’s ability to analyze the impacts of climate change on DHS missions, assets, and personnel; the amendment would hamper the department’s ability to adapt DHS operations, assets, and missions to account for the climate crisis via risk- based strategies; and it would slow DHS-wide sustainability operations to mitigate additional harm.
57. Greene (GA). DHS realizes between $85 billion and $265 billion in criminal revenue each year from environmental trade crimes that are often linked to money laundering and the funding of transnational criminal organizations.CBP is charged with facilitating legitimate trade while keeping the American public safe. In executing its trade mission, CBP is responsible for ensuring that cross-border trade complies with U.S. trade laws and promotes fair, secure, and safe competition. This amendment would prohibit funding for the department’s Green Trade Strategy and would slow the agency’s efforts to develop and enforce a cleaner, more sustainable international trading environment through the agency’s influence on global supply chain practices and enforcement of laws against environmental crimes. The amendment would jeopardize agency planning efforts to proactively strengthen enforcement activities against environmental trade crimes including illegal logging; wildlife trafficking; illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; illegal mining; and other violations of environmental laws and regulations.
58. Greene (GA). DHS is charged with reducing climate-related risks and vulnerabilities to Americans. The agency’s Directorate of Science & Technology has crafted a prize competition to harness the creativity and innovation of American citizens and U.S. business enterprises and award leading-edge solutions for back-up power that will help critical facilities such as fire stations, hospitals, and shelters, continue to operate during electrical outages. This amendment would prohibit funding for this important program and would rob the agency of an effective tool to strengthen community resiliency and protect vital infrastructure from increased climate-related risks.
59. Greene (GA). The DHS Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate Change provides overarching goals, principles, and lines of effort for the Department to reduce the impacts of climate change and prepare for its effects across the nation. The Framework is a key tool enabling the department to safeguard the homeland from the immediate impacts of climate change, while pursuing long-term solutions that support resilient, prosperous communities and safeguard critical national security interests. This amendment would prohibit funding for the department relative to the strategic framework. It would abrogate the agency’s ability to implement strategies defined in the framework, assess and evaluate the impact of the framework or incorporate updates and revisions to the framework based on new data and information. The amendment would weaken the agency’s ability to address climate-related vulnerabilities posed to Americans and leave our nation at greater risk from the threat of climate change
61. Hageman (WY). The DHS Climate Literacy Strategy aims to ensure that all Department employees have a sufficient and up-to-date understanding of climate change and how climate science and climate security implications impact the Department’s mission. This Strategy is key to ensuring that the Department is better prepared to carry out its work and successfully implement efforts relevant to and affected by climate change. This amendment would prohibit any funds from being used to carry out this Strategy, which would in turn prevent the Department from supporting initiatives, including related disaster preparedness efforts at FEMA that will help keep our homeland secure as we adapt to the impacts of climate change.
62. Hageman (WY). The Department of Homeland Security plays a critical role in federal environmental justice initiatives, including through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Justice40, for example, aims to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy and related investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, overburdened and underserved. FEMA programs covered by Justice40 include Flood and Hazard Mitigation Assistance and Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grants. This amendment attempts to undermine these vital initiatives by defunding a DHS agency-wide strategy that supports and guides DHS sustainability and civil rights programs, which is prepared as directed by an MOU from 2011 with other federal agencies.
64. Nehls. (TX). The Department of Homeland Security operates several of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies, including ICE and the TSA. Well-documented civil rights and civil liberties concerns about these and other DHS agencies have been topics of national import for decades, including the Trump Administration’s family separation policy. Cutting funding for DHS’ Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties would contribute to a culture of impunity for some of the nation’s gravest civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights challenges.
70. Ogles (TN). President Biden’s Executive Order on Access to Voting is a critical effort to increase nonpartisan voter registration and participation when people interact with government agencies. This amendment would thwart common-sense, good-government innovations to better serve voters of all stripes, frustrating the goals of the decades-old, bipartisan National Voter Registration Act.
78. Roy (TX). This amendment would block spending to implement executive orders that help reduce pollution, adapt to climate change, and improve the clean energy independence of buildings and installments. The damaging effects of this amendment would include hobbling the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to prepare for and respond to the very real threats of the climate crisis at home and abroad.