Senate approves $28.5 billion in Homeland Security funding
Senate approves $28.5 billion in Homeland Security funding

Online Exclusive, Jul 28 2003

The Senate has cleared a $28.5 billion bill by a 93-1 vote to fund the new Department of Homeland Security next year, rejecting attempts to add more money after criticisms of gaps in domestic defense by Democrats.

Democrats pushed to add millions in funding to the bill, but majority Republicans shot down the additions, citing budget constraints. Senate Democrats told The Associated Press that the GOP-written Homeland Security bill would shortchange emergency responders, security at chemical plants and other areas.

The Senate legislation includes nearly $2.9 billion for state and local governments, with $750 million for cities thought to face high threats of terror attacks. In two votes that split senators from rural and urban states, the Senate refused to bolster the funds for high-threat areas.

The bill, which is one of 13 that Congress must pass each year to fund the federal government, must now be reconciled with the House's version that was passed last month.

In total, the bill gives an additional $1 billion more than President Bush requested for Homeland Security spending in 2004. Additional funds will go to transportation security efforts and firefighters and other emergency workers.

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