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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Congressional Record: July 15, 2002 (Senate)]
[Page S6734-S6793]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr15jy02-89]                         



 
  PUBLIC COMPANY ACCOUNTING REFORM AND INVESTOR PROTECTION ACT OF 2002

[ ... ]

[[Page S6770]]

good job. I do not agree with him on each and every part of it, but he 
has always been open. We have had many good discussions. I am confident 
that in the end we will write a bill that will be broadly supported and 
that will be in the interest of the country.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the hour of 4:55 
having arrived, the Senator from West Virginia is recognized.


                           supplemental bill

  Mr. BYRD. Madam President, there is a game being played with the 
critical issue of homeland security. It is a political game which could 
have disastrous consequences.
  The White House is talking big about homeland security, exhibiting 
strong presidential interest in homeland security, trotting out 
proposals for a whole new Department of Homeland Security, and 
publicizing alerts.
  It is strange, then, strange indeed that despite its public 
pronouncements on homeland security, the White House refuses to back 
the rhetoric up with resources.
  Twice--once last year, and currently--large bipartisan majorities in 
both Houses of Congress have withstood veto threats from this 
administration and insisted on significant funding increases for 
homeland security.
  President Bush's own appointees have all but begged the President's 
OMB Director for additional funds to fight the war on terrorism here at 
home. Many of these requests are urgent and quite compelling, yet the 
OMB has continually rejected a surprising number of these pleas. It is 
as if this administration has delivered an internal unfunded mandate to 
its own cabinet secretaries and Federal workers. Fight the war on 
terrorism on every front here in the homeland. Fight vigorously. Spare 
nothing, but make sure you do it on a shoestring. Protect our people 
here at home, but protect them on the cheap.
  The Department of Energy proposed a total of $380 million to fund 
projects to enhance the security of radioactive materials here at home 
and overseas, including: better security measures to safeguard the 
transport of nuclear weapons within the United States; improvements in 
the ways in which we secure and store plutonium; cleaning up, 
transporting, and protecting low-level radioactive materials that could 
be used in a ``dirty bomb.''
  For these and similar activities $380 million was asked for by the 
Secretary of Energy. But do you know what? That request fell on deaf 
ears at the Office of Management and Budget. Despite all of the 
worrying and nail biting about what would happen if some lunatic 
obtained radioactive material and detonated a ``dirty bomb'' on the 
mall in Washington or in some other large city, the OMB provided less 
than $27 million or about 7 percent of the Energy Department's request. 
Let me say that again: The OMB provided less than $27 million or about 
7 percent of the Energy Department's request. This urgent supplemental 
bill contains $361 million for the Department to dedicate to securing 
these dangerous and vulnerable materials. That is $334 million above 
the amount requested by the President.
  Another striking omission from the Bush supplemental request for 
homeland security involved efforts to deport those individuals who 
entered the country on visas that have now expired. Currently there are 
an estimated 8 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and 
only 2,000 interior immigration enforcement officers nationwide. This 
is a very dangerous situation. We know that terrorists live and plot 
their crimes among us. The Immigration and Naturalization Service 
requested $52 million for analysts to help find, arrest and deport 
high-risk individuals who have disregarded the departure dates on their 
visas.
  OMB said no, nada, nix. It denied the entire request. The 
supplemental bill, now stuck in conference because of the 
administration's latest demands, contains $25 million that the 
Appropriations Committee believes the INS can usefully spend this year 
to address the need to locate some of these individuals. We also 
include $88 million for construction and equipping of border 
facilities, and for improved border inspections.
  Last fall, OMB denied $1.5 billion in funding which the FBI requested 
in the wake of the attack on the twin towers in New York. Part of the 
FBI's funding request was for acceleration of a new computer system 
that will be at the heart of all communications within the bureau. Also 
included in the request were funds to enhance the internal security of 
the FBI's systems and procedures; for ``cyber cops'' and for hazardous 
materials personnel. The Congress provided $212 million above the 
President's request to permit completion of the new computer system 
much earlier than would be allowed under the Bush plan. In addition, we 
have included--the Appropriations Committee--$175 million for cyber 
security and counter terrorism in the supplemental that the White House 
is now delaying--delayed at the last minute last Thursday evening.

  I could go on, but suffice it to say that this administration talks a 
good game about homeland security but it is unwilling to put its money 
where its mouth is.
  Over this past weekend, during his radio address, the President said 
that, ``Strengthening our economy and protecting the homeland and 
fighting the war on terror are critical issues that demand prompt 
attention.'' I agree. I only wish that the same message would be made 
clear to the Office of Management and Budget.
  We have worked diligently in the Congress to get these critical 
homeland security monies out to federal and local personnel charged 
with protecting our people. Yet, we have been met by objection after 
objection by this administration.
  In March, the President insisted he needed more money for national 
defense in an urgent supplemental. We gave him every dollar he 
requested. In addition, the House and Senate provided more money for 
critical homeland defense needs.
  Instead of letting the House and Senate work out our differences and 
get the funding out, the White House started issuing veto threats 
before the Senate bill was even off of the floor. And last Thursday 
evening, just as all differences appeared to be worked out, the White 
House bomb throwers blew up the agreement with new demands.
  It makes one wonder how much the White House really needs that 
defense money and it certainly causes one to wonder how serious this 
administration really is about homeland security.
  Senator Stevens and I have beseeched the White House over and over 
again to have the Homeland Security Director come before our Committee 
to tell us about the needs for Homeland Security. Our requests were 
denied. We held days of hearings with administration officials, local 
firefighters, policemen, mayors and governors. We did our best and 
funded the needs as testimony we heard indicated.
  We wrote a good bill, and we were ready to convene the conference 
Friday. But our efforts were blown up by the OMB Director, suddenly and 
completely and with no warning until the very last minute, Thursday 
evening.
  So needs go wanting in our military and in our homeland defense 
effort. There is no excuse for such irresponsibility. Such tactics are 
not in the best interests of our people. Hollow rhetoric on homeland 
security will never replace solid funding for these needs.
  Political gamesmanship over issues so critical to our Nation and our 
people is irresponsible, arrogant and totally out of line.
  I deplore the arrogance with which the good faith efforts of both 
Houses of Congress have been treated by this White House. Apparently 
the security and safety of this nation and its people have taken a back 
seat to gamesmanship by a White House that has no respect for the 
people's representatives or for the people's urgent needs.
  Under OMB Director Mitch Daniels' stewardship, the Federal budget has 
gone from a surplus of $127 billion in FY 2001 to an estimated deficit 
for the current fiscal year of $165 billion. This is a swing of $292 
billion in just one year.
  The President is now threatening to veto the urgent national defense 
and homeland defense supplemental appropriations bill based on Mr. 
Daniels recommendation. Why? Because Mr. Daniels asserts that the bill 
spends too much money. Yet the conference report's spending levels that 
have been


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