Conferees must agree on DHS funding, IT demands

House and Senate conferees face the task of reconciling a $900 million difference between versions of the Homeland Security appropriations bill, including discrepancies for some of the department's IT projects.

The House bill calls for $29.4 billion in spending. The Senate approved a $28.5 billion appropriation. The funding difference covers many areas, including departmentwide technology investments, for which the Senate approved $185 million while the House approved $206 million.

The Senate approved $380 million for the Border and Transportation Security Directorate's U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology system, while the House OK'd $350 million for the U.S. Visit program.

The Senate approved $702 million for the Coast Guard's Integrated Deepwater Systems project, the House $530 million.

The Senate bill also includes IT provisions not in the House bill:
  • A mandate that DHS submit an inventory of its systems

  • A requirement that DHS report on systems interoperability

  • A call for a progress report on the merging of terrorist watch listsM

  • A requirement that the General Accounting Office review the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II, which uses data mining to identify risky air travelers.

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