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Thursday, May 11, 2006

House subcommittee adds $1.8B for homeland security

"The House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday approved an fiscal 2007 spending bill for the Homeland Security Department that is $1.8 billion higher than current spending but withholds funds for several major department priorities and rejects for a second year in a row a proposed increase in airline passenger fees.

The bill sets discretionary spending at $32 billion, compared to the $31 billion requested by the Bush administration. Officials wanted to generate $1.3 billion by increasing a fee charged to airline passengers, but Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said he wanted 'to send a message to the administration that this fee is dead on arrival.' He added that his panel is not hesitating to give the department 'spankings and punishment.'
Indeed, the spending bill withholds $1.3 billion in funding until the department gives Congress strategic plans and financial information for several programs and operations. For example, the bill withholds almost $500 million from the Science and Technology Directorate until the department 'provides an expenditure plan to back up its poor budget justification and improve its financial management systems.'"

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