H.R. 2892 provided funding for the Department of Homeland Security for the 2010 fiscal year. It included $42.6 billion for the department, which represented an increase of $2.6 billion over the corresponding figures for fiscal year 2009. This was a vote on an amendment offered by Rep. Flake (R-AZ) that would have removed $10 million in funding in the bill for the National Institute for Homeland Security in Somerset, Kentucky. Rep. Flake, who had consistently opposed “earmarks”, or legislatively mandated grants or projects in funding bills, characterized the provision awarding money to the Institute as “one of the largest earmarks we have in the Homeland Security (bill) . . . .”
Rep. Flake noted that the Institute web site describes it as “an independent, nonprofit corporation designed to allow universities in Kentucky to ‘more effectively compete for research funds and projects aimed at improving homeland security.’” He characterized it as “an institute that seems to beget other earmarks”, and claimed that, since its creation in 2005, it had “received $74 million in taxpayer funding.” Flake argued that: “(W)e have funded this institute enough, and it will have to compete on its own for other grants.”
Flake also noted the projected $2 trillion federal deficit, and said: “we are funding a nonprofit organization, which again, according to its own Web site, apparently would not exist without the assistance of Congress. I simply don't think that we can continue to do this.”
Rep. Rogers, a Republican who represents a district in Kentucky where the National Institute for Homeland Security is located and is the Ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, defended the $10 million in funding. He said that the Consortium of Kentucky Colleges and Universities had been asked by the Department of Homeland Security to take on certain research projects that the department needed and that “the institute receives specified research task orders from the science and technology directorate at Department of Homeland Security. The task orders are then farmed out to the consortium of colleges and universities throughout the State of Kentucky and other public and private entities across the country for their input on that particular problem.”
Rogers added that “these are research projects that are producing results that the department needs and asks this consortium to do, and is engaging the intellectual firepower of these universities and colleges in Kentucky and their counterparts throughout the country. It is one of the best things the department has ever done.”
Rep. Price (D-NC), the chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, who was leading the support for H.R.2892, also opposed the amendment.
The amendment was defeated on a vote of 114-317. Ninety-seven Republicans and seventeen Democrats voted “aye”. Two hundred and thirty-nine Democrats and seventy-eight Republicans voted “nay”. As a result the earmark providing $10 million for the National Institute for Homeland Security remained in the bill providing 2010 fiscal year funding to the Department of Homeland Security.