NASCIO today said that the House Appropriations Committee last night approved the Homeland Security Appropriations bill. The draft measure would provide a total of $36.3 billion in discretionary spending -- $2.1 billion, or 6 percent, more than President Bush requested and $2.5 billion more than in FY 2007.

Of direct interest to NASCIO, the bill would provide a total of $550 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program -- $300 million above the president's request and $25 million more than was provided in the FY2007 bill. State Homeland Security Grant Program funds are available to all states for purposes of training, procuring equipment, planning, and conducting exercises, based on each state's approved, updated homeland security strategy. Such strategies can include the development or enhancement of cybersecurity plans, the development or enhancement of cyber risk mitigation plans, and the administration of cyber risk and vulnerability assessments, and thus, are of value to the State CIO.

State Homeland Security Grant Program funding was NASCIO's tier I federal affairs issue this year and during the annual Fly-In, the CIOs participated in meetings focused on presenting a request for a restoration of Homeland Security Grant Program funding to the FY2007 enacted level of $525 million. The House Appropriation Committee's provision of $550 million -- $25 million above NASCIO's request -- demonstrates a growing recognition among lawmakers of the important role states play in preparing for, preventing, deterring, and responding to threats. NASCIO's advocacy on this issue during the annual Fly-In was instrumental in helping to form such recognition, as well as broaden lawmakers' views on realistic funding applications, particularly in the area of state cyber security.

The Homeland Security Appropriations bill is expected to hit the House floor the week of June 11th. On the Senate side, Homeland Security Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd (D-WV) has announced that the subcommittee will mark up its proposed FY2008 bill on June 12th, 2007 with the full committee following suit on June 14th.