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Senate Approves $32.8 billion Homeland Security Spending Bill, Difficult Conference Expected

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 06071760 (posted Jul. 17, 2006)"

The Senate, on July 13, voted 100-0 to approve a $32.8 billion Homeland Security spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2007 (H.R. 5441). The Senate-passed measure would provide $350 million less than the version passed by the House on June 6. Given the bill’s significant differences with the House-passed version, as well as with the President’s budget proposal, a difficult conference is expected.

Among the amendments considered during Senate debate on the bill were:

  • An amendment offered by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) that would provide $350 million in additional resources for border infrastructure, which would be offset by an increase in immigration fees. The funds would be used for items such as physical infrastructure, vehicle replacements, air operations facilities upgrades. Approved on a voice vote.
  • An amendment offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would amend Chapter 27, of Title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the unauthorized construction, financing, or, with reckless disregard, permitting the construction or use on one’s land, of a tunnel or subterranean passageway between the United States and another country and to direct the United States Sentencing Commission to modify the sentencing guidelines to account for such prohibition. Agreed to by unanimous consent.
  • An amendment by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) that would provide an additional $1.83 billion to construct 370 miles of double-layered fencing and at least 461 miles of vehicle barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. The expenditure would be offset by an across-the-board cut in the bill’s other discretionary spending. Rejected, 29-71.
  • Another Sessions amendment that would provide an additional $85.7 million for the DHS to hire 800 additional full-time Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Once again, the expenditure would be offset by an across-the-board cut in the bill’s other discretionary spending. Rejected by a vote of 34-66.
  • An amendment offered by Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) that would increase the amount appropriated for United States Customs and Border Protection salaries and expenses by $44,000,000 to place an additional 236 border patrol agents along the Northern Border and to fully offset that amount with corresponding reductions in the appropriations for administrative travel and printing. Agreed to by unanimous consent.
  • An amendment by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) that would increase the total number of DHS additional detention bed spaces by 1,700 beds in fiscal year 2007. Agreed to by unanimous consent.
  • An amendment by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) that would require the DHS Inspector General to review each Secure Border Initiative contract valued at more than $20,000,000 and to report the findings of such reviews to the Secretary of Homeland Security and to Congress. Agreed to by unanimous consent.
  • An amendment by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) that would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish procedures for clearing individuals whose names have been mistakenly placed on the Transportation Security Administration Watch List. Agreed to by unanimous consent.
  • An amendment by Senator Max Bauchus (D-MT) that would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct tests of unmanned aerial vehicles for border surveillance along the border between Canada and the United States. Approved on a voice vote.
  • An amendment by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that would provide for immigration injunction “reform.” Point of order sustained, amendment fell.
  • An amendment by Senator Jon Kyl that would increase the number of Department of Homeland Security detention bed spaces by 6,700 beds in fiscal 2007. Point of order sustained, amendment fell.
  • An amendment by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) that would increase the number of border patrol agents to 2,500 agents, and offset the expenditure by increasing the availability of reverse mortgages for seniors. Point of order sustained, amendment fell.
 
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