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WAIS Document Retrieval

[Congressional Record: March 21, 2003 (Senate)]
[Page S4258-S4268]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

 [ ... ]

amendment no. 283 (Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate that the States and localities should be reimbursed through the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program for the fiscal burdens undocumented criminal aliens place on their criminal justice systems) On page 79, after line 22, insert the following: SEC. ____. SENSE OF THE SENATE ON THE STATE CRIMINAL ALIEN ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. (a) Findings.--The Senate finds the following: (1) The control of illegal immigration is a Federal responsibility. (2) In fiscal year 2002, however, State and local governments spent more than $13,000,000,000 in costs associated with the incarceration of undocumented criminal aliens. (3) The Federal Government provided $565,000,000 in appropriated funding to the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) to reimburse State and local governments for these costs. (4) In fiscal year 2003, the fiscal burden of incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens is likely to grow, however, Congress provided only $250,000,000 to help cover these costs. (5) The 56 percent cut in fiscal year 2003 funding for SCAAP will place an enormous burden on State and local law enforcement agencies during a time of heightened efforts to secure our homeland. (6) The Administration did not include funding for SCAAP in its fiscal year 2004 budget. (b) Sense of the Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate that-- (1) the functional totals underlying this resolution on the budget assumes that the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program be funded at $585,000,000 to reimburse State and local law enforcement agencies for the burdens imposed in fiscal year 2003 by the incarceration of undocumented criminal aliens; and (2) Congress enact a long-term reauthorization of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program beginning with the authorization of $750,000,000 in fiscal year 2004 to reimburse State and county governments for the burdens undocumented criminal aliens have placed on the local criminal justice system. amendment no. 390 On page 8, between lines 13 and 14, insert the following: (c) Social Security Administrative Expenses.--In the Senate, the amounts of new budget authority and budget outlays of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund for administrative expenses are as follows: Fiscal year 2003: (A) New budget authority, $3,812,000,000. (B) Outlays, $3,838,000,000. Fiscal year 2004: (A) New budget authority, $4,257,000,000. (B) Outlays, $4,207,000,000. Fiscal year 2005: (A) New budget authority, $4,338,000,000. (B) Outlays, $4,301,000,000. Fiscal year 2006: (A) New budget authority, $4,424,000,000. (B) Outlays, $4,409,000,000. Fiscal year 2007: (A) New budget authority, $4,522,000,000. (B) Outlays, $4,505,000,000. Fiscal year 2008: (A) New budget authority, $4,638,000,000. (B) Outlays, $4,617,000,000. Fiscal year 2009: (A) New budget authority, $4,792,000,000. (B) Outlays, $4,766,000,000. Fiscal year 2010: (A) New budget authority, $4,954,000,000. (B) Outlays, $4,924,000,000. Fiscal year 2011: (A) New budget authority, $5,121,000,000. (B) Outlays, $5,091,000,000. Fiscal year 2012: (A) New budget authority, $5,292,000,000. (B) Outlays, $5,260,000,000. Fiscal year 2013: (A) New budget authority, $5,471,000,000. (B) Outlays, $5,439,000,000. amendment no. 388 (Purpose: To require annual reports on the liabilities and future costs of the Federal Government and its programs) At the end of subtitle A of title II, insert the following: SEC. ____. SENSE OF THE SENATE ON REPORTS ON LIABILITIES AND FUTURE COSTS. It is the sense of the Senate that The Congressional Budget Office shall consult with the Committee on the Budget of the Senate in order to prepare a report containing-- (1) an estimate of the unfunded liabilities of the Federal Government; (2) an estimate of the contingent liabilities of Federal programs; and (3) an accrual-based estimate of the current and future costs of Federal programs. amendment no. 389 (Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate regarding the urgent need for increased funding for the Corps of Engineers) At the appropriate place, add the following: SEC. ____. SENSE OF THE SENATE CONCERNING PROGRAMS OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS. (a) Findings.--The Senate finds that-- (1) the Corps of Engineers provides quality, responsive engineering services to the United State, including planning, designing, building, and operating invaluable water resources and civil works projects; (2) the ports of the United States are a vital component of the economy of the United States, playing a critical role in international trade and commerce and in maintaining the energy supply of the United States; (3) interruption of port operations would have a devastating effect on the United States; (4) the navigation program of the Corps enables 2,400,000,000 tons of commerce to move on navigable waterways; (5) the Department of Transportation estimates that those cargo movements have created jobs for 13,000,000 people; [[Page S4260]] (6) flood damage reduction structures provided and maintained by the Corps save taxpayers $21,000,000,000 in damages every year, in addition to numerous human lives; (7) the Corps designs and manages the construction of military facilities for the Army and Air Force while providing support to the Department of Defense and other Federal agencies; (8) the Civil Works program of the Corps adds significant value to the economy of the United States, including recreation and ecosystem restoration; (9) through contracting methods, the civil works program employs thousands of private sector contract employees, as well as Federal employees, in all aspects of construction, science, engineering, architecture, management, planning, design, operations, and maintenance; and (10) the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that $1,000,000,000 expended for the Civil Works program generates approximately 40,000 jobs in support of construction operation and maintenance activities in the United States. (b) Budgetary Assumptions.--It is the sense of the Senate that-- (1) to perform vital functions described in subsection (a), the Corps of Engineers requires additional funding; and (2) the budgetary totals in this resolution assume that the level of funding provided for programs of the Corps described in subsection (a) will not be reduced below current baseline spending levels established for the programs. amendment no. 309 (Purpose: To provide the Committee on Finance of the Senate with additional options to reform and improve medicaid without the need to resort to block grant allotments with predetermined growth rates, which fail to adjust for economic recessions, demographic changes, or disasters) On page 63, beginning on line 12, strike ``through'' and all that follows through ``rates'' on line 14. amendment no. 296, as modified (Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate that the Attorney General should conduct a study on the need and cost to establish radio interoperability between law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and emergency medical services, and that Congress should authorize and appropriate $20,000,000 for grants to local governments to assist fire departments and emergency medical services agencies to establish radio interoperability) On page 79, after line 22, add the following: SEC. 308. RADIO INTEROPERABILITY FOR FIRST RESPONDERS. (a) Study.--It is the sense of the Senate that the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, should conduct a study of the need and cost to make the radio systems used by fire departments and emergency medical services agencies interoperable with those used by law enforcement to the extent that interoperability will not interfere with law enforcement operations. (b) Grant Program.--It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should authorize and appropriate $20,000,000 to establish a grant program through which the Attorney General would award grants to local governments to assist fire departments and emergency medical services agencies to establish radio interoperability. amendment no. 283 Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, this non-binding sense of the Senate amendment expresses that the budget resolution before us should accommodate an appropriation of $750 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program--SCAAP--for Fiscal Year 2004. I am pleased that Senators Kyl, Bingaman, McCain, and Schumer have joined me in introducing this important measure. The bipartisan amendment I offer today with my colleagues would also put the Senate on record as favoring a restoration of fiscal year 2003 funding for this important program, which does so much to help State and county governments deal with the growing costs of incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens. Without adequate funding, this fiscal burden will continue to fall on many of our local law enforcement agencies--including sheriffs, police officers on the beat, anti-gang violence units, and district attorneys offices. The SCAAP program is based on the principle that when the Federal Government falls short in its efforts to enforce the laws against immigration violations, it must bear the responsibility for the financial and human consequences of this failure. Thus, the SCAAP program properly vests this burden with the Federal Government when undocumented aliens commit serious crimes within our communities. It does so by providing Federal reimbursement funding to the States and county governments for the direct costs associated with incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens, who are convicted of felonies or multiple misdemeanors. Increasingly, State and county governments from all across the country have made use of these funds over the years. In fact, in Fiscal Year 2002, the number of State and local governments seeking SCAAP funding jumped 25 percent from the previous fiscal year. The combination of this increase, and the fact that all 50 States and the District of Columbia receive some funding from the program, suggests that no State is immune from the fiscal costs associated with crimes committed by illegal aliens. Today most States are encountering their largest deficits in more than 60 years. Indeed, the fiscal consequences of illegal immigration have contributed to this challenge. In Fiscal Year 2002, State and county governments incurred more than $13 billion in costs associated with incarcerating criminal illegal aliens. These costs are expected to grow over the next several years, given the new challenges of terrorism and our efforts to enhance security within our Nation's borders. California's border counties are among the hardest hit in terms of dollars spent on incarceration, prosecution and court costs for those in the United States illegally. I am greatly concerned about the substantial burden these immigration-related costs impose on the criminal justice system on our local communities, especially given the limited tax base and fiscal resources State and local jurisdictions are working with today. The SCAPP program is not in place to prevent crime, but to fulfill portion of the Federal Government's responsibility, so local governments can use their limited resources for their own responsibilities, such as funding jail enlargement or new homeland security ventures at the local level. At a time when cash-strapped State and local governments are being asked to do even more to protect our homeland, we cannot afford to eliminate vital funding that already falls far short of what local governments spend to incarcerate undocumented criminal aliens. In previous years, Congress has appropriated between $500 million and $585 million for SCAAP to alleviate some of the fiscal burdens placed on the local criminal justice systems. In Fiscal Year 2002, Congress appropriated $565 million for this important program. Unfortunately, the prolonged debate over Fiscal Year 2003 appropriations produced budgetary pressures that resulted in a 53- percent drop in SCAAP funding for FY 2003. SCAAP payments have never matched the true costs to the States dealing with this problem, but they have nevertheless been critical additions to prison and jail budgets. They have also symbolized the Federal Governments obligation to pay for the results of its failed immigration strategies. These are challenging times in our Nation's history. And, we want, to the best extent possible, our constituents to feel secure in their homes and in their communities. At a time when the Nation is focused on enhancing security within our borders, our States, and our local communities, a vital program like SCAAP should not be vulnerable to being under-funded or eliminated altogether. The control of illegal immigration is a Federal obligation and we owe it to our States and local communities to provide them with the crucial Federal assistance they need to continue doing their job. Again, I wish to emphasize that while this amendment would put the Senate on record as supporting this initiative, the amendment is not binding and therefore, does not require any offsets. Mr. NICKLES. Mr. President, I thank our colleagues for their cooperation and I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, the caucus, for the information of our Democratic Senators, will be in the LBJ Room, our normal caucus room. [[Page S4261]] I have something else, though, that I want to share with my colleagues. Congratulating Senator Paul Sarbanes on Casting his 10,000th Vote Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, at 3:45 this afternoon, our friend and colleague, Paul Sarbanes, joined what is truly one of the most exclusive clubs in the world. He cast his 10,000th vote as a United States Senator. Of the 1,875 people ever to serve in the Senate, only 20 others have ever reached this remarkable milestone. Remarkably, eight of the 21 ``10,000 vote'' Senators are serving in this Senate. In addition to Senator Sarbanes, they include our friends Joe Biden, Senator Byrd, Pete Domenici, Fritz Hollings, Dan Inouye, Ted Kennedy and Ted Stevens. I'm proud to note that, at least in this very distinguished caucus, Democrats still have a majority. Reaching this historic milestone is just the latest remarkable accomplishment in what has been, by anyone's standards, a remarkable American success story. Paul Sarbanes is the proud son of Greek immigrants. His parents, Spyros and Matina Sarbanes, emigrated from the same town in Greece, but met in America. The Sarbanes family owned a restaurant in Salisbury, MD. They gave it a quintessentially American name: The Mayflower Restaurant. Paul worked in the restaurant, and he and his family lived above it. He graduated from a public high school and won a scholarship to Princeton University. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. After Oxford, he came home and, in 1960, earned a law degree from Harvard. From Harvard, Paul Sarbanes went to the White House, one of the ``best and brightest'' who answered President Kennedy's call to public service. He worked as Administrative Assistant to Water Heller, chairman of President Kennedy's Council of Economic Advisors. He won his first elected office in 1966, to the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 4 years. In 1970, the people of Maryland elected him to the House of Representatives. In 1976, he won his first election to the United States Senate. In November 2000, he won his fifth election to the Senate, making him the longest-serving Senator in Maryland's history. It's been said that there are two kinds of Senators: those who are here to make headlines and those who are here to make history. Paul Sarbanes is one of the history makers. He is one of the most modest men I know. He is also one of the most intelligent. He was a voice of reason on both the Whitewater and Iran-Contra committees. It was his leadership and his refusal to accept defeat--more than anything--that enabled us, in the last Congress, to pass the most far-reaching corporate accountability reforms since the Securities and Exchange Commission was created 70 years ago. The Sarbanes-Oxley reforms will help prevent the kinds of corporate abuses that have so damaged our economy and shaken people's faith in the economic markets these last few years. They will protect people's investments, and their economic futures. I learned a Greek word from Paul Sarbanes: ``idiotes.'' It is the Greek root for the English word ``idiot.'' But it has a different meaning in Greek. It means ``someone who takes no part in the affairs of his community.'' In the Sarbanes family, it was almost a curse. Paul Sarbanes' parents taught him that serving one's nation is a noble calling. I know they would be proud of him. So are we. I congratulate my friend on casting his 10,000th vote in the Senate--and on his long and exemplary career. I look forward to seeing him cast a few thousand more votes. Mr. President, I yield the floor and congratulate our colleague. (Applause, Senators rising.) The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland. Mr. SARBANES. Mr. President, I thank our distinguished leader for his very kind comments about the 10,000 votes I have cast in the Senate. I must say, if we keep doing these vote-a-ramas, everyone can aspire to reaching this goal in short order. Our very able leader was very kind and generous in his remarks. I appreciate them very much. I wish to register my deep appreciation to the people of my State who sent me to the Senate now for my fifth term and, therefore, made it possible for me to be here exercising my judgment on important issues that come before us. I certainly hope that people, looking back over that record, will think there was some quality in those votes as well as quantity. I thank my colleagues for their constant support and the ability to interact with them as we deal with important matters of public policy. Even though we sometimes differ, we support one another in a very unique and, to some, not understandable way. I am in my 27th year in the Senate, and I am pleased to be in the company of those who our leader enumerated that have also passed the 10,000 mark. I particularly want to acknowledge my respect for Senator Byrd, who I think has cast more votes than anyone who has ever served in the Senate, and continues to be an example to us all. I also would be remiss if I did not thank my family, my wife in particular, for their strong support over these many years now. And finally, I would like to thank the many staff members who have served me so well for these past 27 years. Again, I thank all of those who have been so gracious to me in extending their best wishes and congratulations. And, in particular, I thank our leader, Senator Daschle. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico. Mr. DOMENICI. Mr. President, while Senator Sarbanes is still here, I want to congratulate him. Mr. SARBANES. I appreciate that. Mr. DOMENICI. I am on that list. I just want to tell you, 10,000 is just the beginning. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma. Mr. NICKLES. Mr. President, I wish to join our colleagues in congratulating Senator Sarbanes on the milestone, and his accomplishments in the Senate. Democratic Caucus Mr. REID. Mr. President, I announce we now have a Democratic caucus in the LBJ Room. If all Democratic Senators can move over there, it would be greatly appreciated. Mr. CHAMBLISS. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business for 5 minutes. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, we are all following, on a moment-by- moment basis, the developments in Iraq and the sad reality that this war is upon us, but we also have the great feeling of support for our men and women in uniform. I was notified today that one of the first casualties in the war was from my home State. His name is Ryan Beaupre from Saint Anne, IL, a 30- year-old Marine Corps captain who was a pilot on the helicopter that went down with eight British commandos and four marines, a wonderful young man by all reports from a good family who attended Bishop MacNamara High School in Kankakee and then Illinois Wesleyan and enlisted in the Marine Corps and served his country so well. I have called his family today. Of course, they are grief-stricken, as is everyone in the community. A special tribute was given to him today at his old high school, and I am sure there will be many more. Our hearts go out to the Beaupre family and all of their friends at this great loss. We are fortunate in this country to have young men and women like him, willing to volunteer and to risk their lives for their Nation. We should remember the cost of war and remember how much we owe those who will step forward to defend this Nation in time of need. I hope, before this debate on the budget resolution is over, to ask my colleagues in the Senate to consider an amendment which I hope to offer. If someone asked you today how much [[Page S4262]] combat pay do we pay to the marines and sailors and soldiers and airmen for fighting the war in Iraq, most Americans would not know the answer. But combat pay for our soldiers and those who are risking their lives now in Iraq is $5 a day--$5 a day--$150 a month. That is combat pay for those who are in active military, as well as those who are activated. Also, you might be interested in knowing how much we pay the families when we separate people and send them off to war. What kind of monthly supplement do we provide for the families who now have someone important in their lives gone for a period of time and have to struggle to try to keep things together when it comes to child care and added responsibility and added expenses? How much do we give to these military families? About $3.30 a day; $100 a month. The amendment I am going to offer to the budget resolution will raise those two amounts, not to what they truly deserve but to show that we have not forgotten that they need more, to $500 a month for combat pay, and $500 a month to families who are separated because of this war. It is a small token. It should be much more. But I hope my colleagues will seriously consider that amendment. As we all feel so good and so strong about the contribution of the men and women in uniform, let us not forget they deserve a helping hand and the combat pay differential as well as the assistance to their families. I yield the floor. Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I wish to elaborate on Amendment No. 277, which would provide an additional $16 billion next year to fund our urgent homeland security needs. Because of the failure of the Schumer amendment--which would have provided a substantial but smaller increase in homeland security funding next year--it is clear that my amendment will not carry the Senate. Nevertheless, I would like to set forth the following statement on the reasons behind my amendment and the urgency of dramatically increasing our investment in homeland security. America has the greatest military in the world--as we are witnessing in Iraq today--and we have it because we pay for it. For generation after generation, presidents, members of Congress, and the American people have come together across partisan divides and every other conceivable divide to invest what's necessary in our military, and in the men and women in uniform who make our military what it is. If we want the best domestic defenses, we'll have to pay for them, too. But consider this comparison. Under the resolution before us, between this year's and next year's budgets, defense spending would be increased by some $19 billion. I support that increase. But over the same period, this resolution would invest only $300 million more in improving our homeland defenses. Why? One reason and one reason only: the President's unaffordable, unfair, and unfocused tax cuts are leaving no room for necessary investments. They're crowding out every other priority. It's bad enough that they haven't done anything to create jobs, to grow the economy, to expand the middle class. On top of that, they have raided the national cupboard. There's little money left for urgent needs--not for healthcare, not for education, not for Social Security or homeland security. Little money left for smart tax cuts that will spur real growth and innovation. Little money left to keep down the deficit at a time when we're looking at $2 trillion in additional debt. I urge my colleagues to stop and think about this for a second. The President's budget would have us spend about $100 billion next year alone on brand new tax cuts for those who need them least. $100 billion of our national treasure on unfocused, unaffordable and unfair tax cuts when we are at war against terrorism here at home, forced to marshal our strength to defend against a ruthless and unpredictable new enemy. And that's to say nothing of the cost of the war to disarm Iraq, the peace that will follow, or every other critical need facing our country from healthcare to education to Social Security. For this administration and those who support this resolution, all of those needs are down the list. Those needs can wait. Those needs can suffer. As long as someone preserves the precious new tax cuts--which will do little if anything to create new jobs--they're happy. That's crazy. It's irresponsible. And it's downright unfair to those who are working day and night to protect us, and who desperately need new resources to do their job well. My father ran his own small store and, like any decent businessman, he understood that making a good living and paying the bills started with sound and honest budget planning. If he needed to put a new lock on the door, he would set aside some money to do it. Those who run our government now don't seem to get it. They underestimate or hide serious expenses. They squander money when business is bad. They overestimate revenue. And they seem to think that our security will magically fund itself, rather than setting aside money for it, as my Dad would have. It's time for this administration and those who back this resolution to show some economic common sense. It's time for them to let go of their pet tax cuts and dedicate some resources to our critical common needs. This amendment would do that. Rather than giving homeland security short shrift by settling for a paltry $300 million increase, it would start to put real dollars where the danger is. After extensive study and consultation with experts, I've determined it will take $16 billion to start truly raising our guard in the next fiscal year. That's what this amendment would provide. How will we pay for it? It's an important question--and unlike this administration, we'll answer it. Because we understand, as the American people understand, that we can't have it all. Leadership is about making tough choices--about tradeoffs. So we propose paying for this new investment in homeland security by redirecting $32 billion in new tax cuts proposed by the President. Half of that money will go toward deficit reduction--to start digging ourselves and our children out of the ditch of debt in which we now find ourselves. And half of it will pay for urgent homeland security improvements. Aren't those two common goals, both of which will broadly benefit the American people, a far, far better use of our precious resources than brand new unfocused, unaffordable, and ineffective tax cuts to those who need them least? The answer is obvious to me. I hope it's clear to others in this chamber as well. Let me now talk about some of the critical security needs that this $16 billion would help us meet. Our commitment needs to start with first responders, who are our frontline troops in this homefront war. In communities across the country, our firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians are struggling for the funds they need to meet the new threats we face. It's time for us to give them the support they need and their jobs demand. This budget resolution would provide virtually no new funding for our first responders. Virtually no new funding--at this time of unprecedented need and danger. That's unacceptable. There is equipment to buy. There are professionals to hire. There are people to train. All of that--like it or not--takes money. This amendment provides for $10 billion in FY 04--$6.5 billion above the President's request--to help first responders prepare for and combat terrorism, including attacks involving weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, the amendment provides for $1 billion in FY 04 for firefighter grants, money that would be available to hire additional firefighters. This is the first installment of the SAFER Act--of which I am an enthusiastic supporter--which would provide more than $7.5 billion over 7 years to help communities hire badly needed new firefighters. Unlike in the President's proposed budget, I believe that new funds should not come at the expense of existing programs for first responders like the COPS program, the Local Law Enforcement Grants, or the Byrne Grant program. Within this overall commitment, $4 billion should be dedicated to helping first responders obtain interoperable equipment--a vital challenge that has been estimated to cost $18 billion overall. [[Page S4263]] Nor should we wait for the FY 04 appropriations cycle to help our first responders. The recently-approved FY 03 omnibus spending bill comes up far short for first responders. We will need to seize every opportunity to fix that, and I am cosponsoring amendments today to ensure that this happens. I will fight also for more money for first responders in the supplemental appropriations process. Our second critical unmet priority is shoring up port security--which my amendment would accomplish by committing a $2 billion investment above the pending resolution. About 7 million containers arrive at these ports each year, yet only a tiny fraction are searched. This poses a risk not only at the ports, but also inland--as many of those containers travel many miles to their final destination without being searched. Yet the administration's budget proposal and this budget resolution mostly ignore the physical security of our ports. The Coast Guard has estimated that it will cost $4.4 billion to improve basic physical security at the nation's ports, starting with close to $1 billion the first year. In addition, the Maritime Security Act mandates certain security measures without providing a funding mechanism. In an effort to jumpstart these vital improvements, this amendment provides $1.2 billion in port security grants for fiscal year 2004. Because the ports themselves are a potential target, we do not want to wait until dangerous containers arrive to investigate. Rather, we must ``push the borders back'' and identify and inspect as much high- risk cargo as possible before it enters our harbors. The Customs Service has made some valuable strides in this direction through the Container Security Initiative. This program stations Customs officers at overseas ports to allow for inspection of some containers before they begin their voyage to the U.S. Yet the Administration is not expanding this valuable program as forcefully as circumstances require. President Bush has requested $62 million for this program in fiscal year 2004, a request that is echoed in this budget resolution. My amendment would provide an additional $100 million to allow for aggressive and effective expansion of this program, and for related initiatives to inspect and track containers as close as possible to their point of origin. Moving beyond physical security, my amendment would enable the Coast Guard to step up its supervision of the ports and adjacent maritime areas. I believe we must accelerate efforts to recapitalize the Coast Guard fleet--specifically, to speed up implementation of the long- planned Deepwater Initiative to upgrade and integrate the Coast Guard's fleet and related communications equipment. The budget resolution before us, following the President's budget proposal, has proposed $500 million for this project in fiscal year 2004, which is only enough to complete the project in 20 years or longer--the timetable outlined before the September 11 attacks. Clearly, current circumstances call for greater urgency. This amendment would provide an additional $700 million, for a total of $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2004, to complete the Deepwater Initiative in closer to 10 years. In addition to the port security initiatives I have outlined, we must strengthen other components of our border security. In particular, the amendment calls for an additional $1 billion in FY 04 to increase border personnel and to improve information technology systems for the border. On personnel, we must strengthen the presence of Customs and immigration inspectors and of Border Patrol agents in key areas. Indeed, some of these enhancements were mandated by the Patriot Act and the Border Security Act but have not been funded and filled to date. I would allocate additional funds to hire at least 2,000-3,000 new border personnel. With respect to technology, it is especially critical that we expedite implementation of the biometric document system as mandated by the Patriot Act and Border Security Act. The biometric document system will include biologically unique identifiers for immigrants, reducing the risk that immigrants will enter illegally or under an assumed identity. The budget resolution before us clearly has not allocated significant new resources to achieve this new system in the required timeframe, or anything close to it. The additional $1 billion in my amendment would allow us to make significant progress on these border security needs.