What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Funding for Homeland Security : S 762. Fiscal 2003 War Supplemental/Vote to Table (Kill) an Amendment Designed to Improve Homeland Security by Directing Funds to Protect the Nation's Seaports. (2003 senate Roll Call 120)
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S 762. Fiscal 2003 War Supplemental/Vote to Table (Kill) an Amendment Designed to Improve Homeland Security by Directing Funds to Protect the Nation's Seaports.
senate Roll Call 120     Apr 03, 2003
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

The war supplemental spending bill proposed by the Bush Administration includes a $1 billion fund for homeland security purposes. The fund, however, fails to specify where the money will be directed; the President would have the sole authority to allocate federal money for homeland security without congressional consent. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)-a staunch defender of Congress's "power of the purse"-proposed an amendment to the war supplemental bill that would have targeted $1.1 billion to improve domestic security. Specifically, Byrd's amendment included funding for: 1) the development of a national system to inspect the nearly six million containers that enter the U.S. each year through ports; 2) the installation of monitors at seaports to detect radiological, nuclear, chemical, and biological substances; and 3) security enhancements for public transit systems and aviation security. Progressives supported Byrd's efforts to increase the standing of Congress vis-à-vis the executive in the allocation of federal money for homeland security purposes. During consideration of Byrd's proposal, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MI) made a procedural motion to table (or strike down) the amendment and the motion was agreed to on a nearly party-line vote of 51-46 (thereby striking down the Byrd amendment). The partisan division on this vote can be attributed to differences between the parties regarding the amount that should have been provided to the President for discretionary (or flexible) spending on homeland security.

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