What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Rights of Public Employees : H.R. 5710. Homeland Security Department/Final Passage of an Anti-Labor, Executive Power-Enhancing Bill to Create a Department of Homeland Security. (2002 house Roll Call 477)
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H.R. 5710. Homeland Security Department/Final Passage of an Anti-Labor, Executive Power-Enhancing Bill to Create a Department of Homeland Security.
house Roll Call 477     Nov 13, 2002
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

The subject of this vote was final passage of legislation that would consolidate twenty-two agencies into a new cabinetlevel Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The mission of the new Department was to protect domestic security. Agencies that were relocated to the new Department were the Coast Guard, the Customs Service, the Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service among others. Proposals to create a Department of Homeland Security were originally made by Democrats shortly after the September 11th attacks; President Bush rejected Democrats' initial proposals but later crafted one of his own. Progressives opposed the Bush plan because provisions in the bill would change personnel rules to make it easier for the administration to fire civil servants in the DHS. Another area of contention involved the role of labor unions in the new Department. Under the Bush plan, civil servants in the DHS could be exempt from collective bargaining agreements. In the view of Progressives, the new DHS should not infringe on the labor rights of its employees. More generally, Progressives were concerned that the executive branch would gain more power vis-à-vis Congress in homeland security affairs because the legislation creating the new Department contained restrictions on congressional oversight of DHS actions. Despite Progressives' opposition, the legislation to create the new Department was adopted on a 299-121 vote.

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