What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Adequate Funding for Homeland Security : S. 4 Legislation to implement the unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission; Obama amendment to change the funding formula for state Homeland Security grants to make more money available to states with international borders/Motion to table (2007 senate Roll Call 62)
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S. 4 Legislation to implement the unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission; Obama amendment to change the funding formula for state Homeland Security grants to make more money available to states with international borders/Motion to table
senate Roll Call 62     Mar 06, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

This amendment, offered by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), would have amended a bill to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission by requiring that federal grant money for national securityexpenditures by states be divvied up according to whether a state has international border. The proposal would have split states into two groups: states with international borders would have been guaranteed at least 0.45 percent of total monies available for such grants from the Department of Homeland Security, while states without an international border would have been given a minimum of 0.25 percent of the total monies available from the program. Billions of dollars in federal funds are at stake, and the funding allocation is an extremely divisive one, geographically if not politically. The proposed amendment was to be part of a bill implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that were not enacted into law during the previous Republican-controlled Congress. Obama represents a state with a port city (Chicago, which sits on Lake Michigan, part of the Great Lakes that share a border with Canada), and he asserted that his amendment reflected the reality that states with such international exposure are more likely to be terrorist targets. The 9/11 Commission recommended that federal grants to states be distributed based solely on risk assessments made by the Department of Homeland Security and that the state minimums be abolished entirely. Current law guarantees that each state get at least 0.75 percent of the total monies available in the program. The Senate voted to table the amendment by a vote of 59-40. The vote split along geographical lines, with Senators representing states with without an international border generally voting to table the amendment, and those representing states with an international boundary line voting against the motion, regardless of party affiliation. With the amendment set aside, the bill to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission went forward without Obama's proposal to mandate that states with international borders get a greater guaranteed minimum percentage of total funds available in the Homeland Security grant program. The funding formula set out in the original bill thus remained unchanged.

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