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Senate Conservatives Assault Homeland Security

Conservatives in the Senate are failing to protect Americans here at home. They have left gaping holes in our nation's security by refusing to implement common sense, relatively inexpensive solutions to major threats.

Conservatives in the Senate are failing to protect Americans here at home. They have left gaping holes in our nation’s security by refusing to implement common sense, relatively inexpensive solutions to major threats.

That became clear this week as the Senate conservatives killed a series of amendments to the 2005 Department of Homeland Security spending bill. The amendments called for funding increases to secure vulnerable ports, airports, borders, chemical plants and rails, as well as to train and equip firefighters and other emergency responders. The total bill for the vital, extra security was less than $20 billion – a fraction of the $145 billion that the Republicans have spent on the President’s war in Iraq. 

Given the current threat we continue to face, the conscious decision not to devote adequate resources demonstrates the Senate conservatives feel no sense of urgency when it comes to making us more secure more quickly. A sample of the amendments rejected or tabled follows. 

Maritime Safety

  • Amendment 3596: $300 million for port security. 
  • Amendment 3580:  $150 million for port security research and development.
  • Amendment 3617: $100 million for the Coast Guard operations.
  • Amendment 3597: $665 million for high-threat urban areas and port security.

Emergency Personnel

  • Amendment 3609: $70 million systems that allow real-time communication between State and local first responders.
  • Amendment 3597: $146 million for firefighters. 
  • Amendment 3615:  $70 million for identification and tracking of shipments of hazardous materials.  

Air, Rail, and Chemical Security

  • Amendment 3619: $70 million for security at chemical plants.
  • Amendment 3597: $50 million for the Federal Air Marshals program, $100 million for aviation security, $350 million for rail security.
  • Amendment 3632: $625 million for discretionary grants for high-threat, high-density urban areas.
  • Amendment 3655:  $350 million to improve security at points of entry into the United States.