02-25-2020 DHS Budget Hearing Screenshot PLAY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today presided over the subcommittee’s hearing to consider the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) budget request and priorities for FY2021. DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf provided testimony and answered questions from committee members on the department’s funding and policy priorities.

“The scope of the Department of Homeland Security is extremely broad,” Chairman Capito said. “From securing our southern border, ensuring safe air transportation, enhancing cybersecurity, drug interdiction, and assisting efforts to combat the coronavirus, there was a lot to discuss with Acting Secretary Wolf. I was particularly interested in hearing more from the Acting Secretary about the department’s efforts to control the coronavirus, and will continue to work closely with the department to monitor this situation. Additionally, I took the opportunity today to raise issues important to West Virginia like keeping drugs out of our communities and efforts to help the state recover from the 2016 floods. I look forward to building on the progress we made in the FY20 bill, which provided several significant investments that will shape and protect the homeland for years to come.”

During the hearing, Chairman Capito took the opportunity to ask Acting Secretary Wolf about what the department is doing to monitor and control the coronavirus. Acting Secretary Wolf assured Chairman Capito and the other members present that the department is working within a task force to implement measures to protect the American people. When asked by Chairman Capito about resources to combat the issue, Acting Secretary Wolf confirmed that the department has the resources necessary within their existing budget, but that he would remain in contact with her should those needs change. Senator Capito expressed her growing concern with the coronavirus and stressed the need for a constant and consistent information flow to the benefit of the general public.

Additionally, Chairman Capito took the opportunity to raise several other issues to the Acting Secretary that are important to West Virginia including the opioid epidemic and FEMA’s efforts to help West Virginia recover from the 2016 floods.

COMBATTING THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC: “I was just in southern West Virginia with the head of the Office of Drug Control Policy Jim Carroll. We went to a drug court graduation, and he announced at that graduation—because what we are seeing is our drug problem morphing from opioid prescription drugs to heroin and fentanyl to now synthetic methamphetamine—but, he announced that—at the border—you had interdicted 432 packages with $18 million worth of methamphetamine… so congratulations to you and the interdiction that you’re doing. You’re saving lives by doing that,” Chairman Capito said during the hearing.

RECOVERING FROM THE 2016 FLOODS: “I want to thank the department here, and I want to thank FEMA for helping us in West Virginia recover from the 2016 floods where you just recently helped us rebuild four of our schools—and, you know, it’s four years later, so there were some frustrations there—but FEMA really worked to help us make sure we were asking for the right things, so I appreciate that and you helping us with the match issue as well,” Chairman Capito said during the hearing.

To watch Senator Capito’s opening statement, click here. To watch the first portion of her questions for Acting Secretary Wolf, click here. Click here to watch the second portion of her questions. 

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