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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves $32.8 billion Homeland Security Spending Bill

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 06063012 (posted Jun. 30, 2006)"

The Senate Appropriations Committee, on June 29, voted 28-0 to approve a $32.8 billion Homeland Security spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2007 (H.R. 5441). The measure, which the House passed on June 6, is scheduled to come to the Senate floor on July 10, when lawmakers return from the July Fourth recess.

Among other things, the bill would provide approximately $6.6 billion to Customs and Border Protection—a $65 million increase over President Bush’s request. This total would provide funding for an additional 1,000 Border Patrol agents. When combined with the FY 2006 emergency supplemental appropriations act (Pub. L. No. 109-234), 2,000 new Border Patrol agents will be on board by the end of fiscal year 2007. This will bring the total number of Border Patrol agents to 14,319 for FY 2007, as compared to 12,319 agents for FY 2006.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement would receive approximately $3.9 billion, or $67 million less than the President requested. This sum would include funding for an additional 1,000 detention beds. When combined with the totals from the FY 2006 emergency supplemental appropriations act, 5,000 new detention beds will be added by the end of fiscal year 2007. This will bring the total number of detention beds to 25,300 for FY 2007, as compared to 24,300 beds for FY 2006.

Also adopted by the Committee was a manager’s package that included an amendment by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to delay from January 1, 2008, to June 1, 2009, the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). That initiative would require travelers entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda or Panama to have passports or other secure identification before entering the U.S. The WHTI was enacted as part of the 2004 intelligence reform bill (Pub. L. No. 108-458).

 
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