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 recommendations of the 9/11 Commission; Coburn amendment package/Motion to table (2007 senate Roll Call 66)
 Who: All Members

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S. 4 Legislation to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission; Coburn amendment package/Motion to table
senate Roll Call 66     Mar 07, 2007
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This vote was on a motion to table (set aside) a series of amendment drafted by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would have made a number of significant changes to the bill implementing the unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. In total, the Senator offered 166 amendments to the legislation. This amendment was thus many amendments rolled into one. In a statement released by his office, Coburn gave this explanation for his amendments: "I'm disappointed that this bill, in its current form, appears to have more to do with enhancing the political security of politicians than the physical security of the American people." He said his amendments were designed to produce a bill that is based on risk rather than perceived political rewards and also avoids creating unnecessary duplication and bureaucracy. "I'm concerned that this duplicative and bureaucratic legislation solves problems that do not exist while ignoring problems that do. I'm also troubled that Congress conveniently omitted itself from the 9/11 Commission's list of government bodies that need to be reformed," Coburn said in the statement. One of Coburn's amendments would eliminate funding for the Office for the Prevention of Terrorism, on the grounds that "preventing terrorism" is the job of the president, vice president, secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, and so on down the list of elected and unelected officials in charge of preventing terrorist attacks. He called the terrorism prevention office "obviously duplicative." Coburn's amendment package also contained 32 amendments to prohibit the Homeland Security Department to use of grant monies for non-security related activities including: yoga, art class, dance, bingo, theater workshops, gardens and parks. Coburn also proposed a sunset date on all provisions in the bill and a requirement that Congress be forced to review Homeland Security Department programs after five years. The opposition to Coburn's amendment was largely on the grounds of impracticality. Senators such as Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) rose to assert that although Coburn's assessment of the Homeland Security Department may be correct in places, his proposed solutions "would only exacerbate the problem" by creating disruptions in the grant funding process. The motion to table Coburn's amendment passed by a vote of 71-25. All 25 "nay" votes -- which essentially supported Coburn's position -- came from within the Republican ranks. With the success of the motion to table, the bill to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission proceeded without Coburn's proposed funding cuts and elimination of programs that he deemed irrelevant or duplicative.

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