Senators Vote to Increase Security Funding

Thursday, July 13, 2006
Senate Republicans and Democrats together boosted funding for border and port security in the fiscal 2007 Homeland Security appropriations bill by almost $1b, but were bitterly divided over how to restructure the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Senators agreed to two amendments by Senate Appropriations ranking member Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., that would provide $350m extra for border security and $648m more for port and cargo security. But several senators clashed on the floor over restructuring FEMA. In the end, an amendment by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, and ranking member Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., to transform FEMA but keep it within the department was approved on an 87-11 vote. The amendment, which had strong backing from Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., would turn FEMA into the U.S. Emergency Management Authority, give it special protections so its budget and staff could not be stripped, and give its administrator direct reporting authority to the White House during a crisis. A competing amendment to remove FEMA from the department and make it an independent Cabinet-level agency was defeated by a 66-32 vote. That amendment was backed by Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. Before the amendments on border and port security were approved, the spending bill would have provided about $31.7b in discretionary spending for the department. But with the additional funding, the Senate bill is now almost $700m more than the House version, which could set up a complicated conference. Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H., co-sponsored both amendments, saying he supported them because they can be paid for without breaking the Senate's spending cap on the bill. The border security provisions would be paid for by increasing fees on foreigners for Customs and immigration services, GovExec.com reported. It was not immediately clear whether the fee increase would be opposed by likely House conferees or other lawmakers. In 2004, for example, House Ways and Means Chairman William Thomas, R-Calif., objected to extending Customs user fees in the fiscal 2005 Homeland Security spending bill to pay for $784m in additional spending. The border security amendment would pay for capital infrastructure initiatives, many of which were proposed by Gregg in the fiscal 2006 emergency supplemental spending bill. Byrd said the funding is critical given that new agents for the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are being hired. The amendment would specifically provide $220m to Customs and Border Protection for air and marine recapitalization, replacing helicopters, buying additional unmanned aerial vehicles and purchasing construction vehicles; $45m to ICE for replacing vehicles and modernization of information technology systems, and $85m to Citizenship and Immigration Services for fraud detection and its business transformation program. The $648m in additional funding for cargo and port security would be paid for by tapping unobligated fiscal 2006 funds for Homeland Security. According to GovExec.com, the spending bill would have to be signed into law before the end of this fiscal year in order for the unobligated balance to be tapped, but the funds would be available until they are spent. The amendment would provide $251m to CBP to put non-intrusive inspection equipment at U.S. seaports and rail border crossings and to hire officers to conduct more cargo inspections; $207m to the Coast Guard for its Deepwater modernization program and to accelerate security assessments of both foreign and domestic ports; and $190m more for port security grants. (Source: GovExec.com)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter July 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Maritime Security

India Buys 4 P-8I Maritime Planes

India has inked a deal with the US defence and aerospace giant Boeing to procure four more Poseidon-8I (P-8I) long-range surveillance and anti-submarine warfare

Drones: Is the Maritime Industry Ready?

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or “drones” in common parlance, are not a part of the historical maritime vocabulary. At least not yet. While the term “drones” may conjure images from science fiction,

Cambodia Urged ASEAN to Avoid Words That Escalate Tension

Cambodia advised a grouping of South East Asian nations to avoid using words that "would escalate tension between China and the Philippines" in a weekend statement,

Coast Guard

Alaska Juris Sinks, 46 People Rescued

The Fishing Company of Alaska, based in Renton, owns the  238-foot  Alaska Juris that started sinking in the Bering Sea shortly before noon on Tuesday, says a report in Seattle Times.

Sunken Barge Impedes Waterway Traffic Near Galveston

A barge sank east of the Galveston Causeway railroad bridge Tuesday, causing the U.S. Coast Guard to issue a safety zone and temporarily restrict traffic on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

BMT to Lead Repower for Historic USCG Eagle

BMT Designers & Planners, a subsidiary of BMT Group, an international maritime design, engineering and risk management consultancy, is leading the effort to repower the historic U.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0952 sec (11 req/sec)