- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved $44.3 billion in spending for the Department of Homeland Security - including $1.6 billion down payment on the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border.

The proposal marks a $1.7 billion increase over the current fiscal year.

“This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontlines who work tirelessly to keep us safe,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, chairman of the Appropriations Committee. “The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders.”

The proposal passed out of committee on a 30-22 vote.

The spending plan also includes $13.8 billion for Customs and Border Protection, which covers the Trump administration’s border wall request as well as the cost of hiring 500 new border patrol agents, and investing in new technology.

The proposal also sets aside $7 billion for Immigration and Custom Enforcement - a $617 million increase. More than $185 million will be used to hire 1,000 more law enforcement agents and support staff, and to increase the number of detention beds.

The border wall allocation includes $784 million for 32 miles of new border fencing in Rio Grande Valley, as well as new $498 million for 28 miles of new levee wall in that area, and $251 million for 14 miles of secondary fencing in San Diego.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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