H.R. 630 would require the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to share with certain foreign countries, the systems those departments use to screen people who want to travel to the United States. Those countries would be able to use the systems to detect, monitor, or prevent travel by terrorists and foreign fighters. The bill also would require DHS to prioritize the transfer of its excess equipment and supplies to countries from which such individuals are likely to travel to the United States. Lastly, the bill would require the Department of State to periodically submit to the Congress a plan to increase the capacity of foreign countries to monitor such travel. In total, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 630 would cost $1 million over the 2020-2025 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
Under current law, DHS and the Department of State share their screening systems with foreign governments, and they continue to expand the distribution of those systems. The departments’ assistance includes training and maintenance on those systems. On the basis of information provided by DHS and the Department of State, CBO expects that only a few additional countries would receive that assistance as a result of implementing H.R. 630. CBO estimates that the departments would spend about $1 million over the 2020-2025 period to cover the costs of staff time, shipping equipment, and providing training to foreign partners. While the legislation would authorize DHS to accept reimbursement for those costs, CBO expects that the agency would not do so in most cases and estimates that the amount of any reimbursements would be insignificant.
Requiring DHS to alter its priorities for distributing its excess equipment would change which countries would receive that equipment, but not how much equipment would be distributed. Thus, implementing that requirement would not affect the agency’s costs, CBO estimates.
Finally, using information about the cost to prepare similar plans and reports, CBO estimates that satisfying the bill’s reporting requirement would cost less than $500,000 over the 2020-2025 period.