Senate fray stalls homeland funding

Delays in negotiating the committee structure of the Senate, where the Republicans will be the new presiding party, have stalled the reprogramming of $125 million that would provide seed money for the Homeland Security Department, Senate appropriations staff said.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) today negotiated the structure of committees in the Senate'especially the question of how many members each party can appoint to each committee, an area where conflicting precedents point to varying outcomes.

The dispute likely will last into next week, sources said. Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to approve an extension of the continuing resolution for government funding under a special unanimous consent agreement, congressional sources said.

As a result of the organizational standoff, the Senate Appropriations Committee has not followed its House counterpart by approving a $125 million reprogramming of funds for homeland security, Senate Appropriations staff members said. Until party leaders settle the organizational dispute, incoming Appropriations Committee chairman Sen. Ted Stevens, (R-Ak.) cannot follow the lead of his house counterpart, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.), and approve the reprogramming, appropriations committee staff said.

Young approved the reprogramming in a Jan. 7 letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr.

According to that letter, the $125 million will be drawn from previously appropriated fiscal 2003 funds for the following agencies:

  • Coast Guard, $3.5 million

  • Customs Service, $30 million

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency, $32 million

  • Immigration and Naturalization Service, $30 million

  • Secret Service, $4.5 million

  • Transportation Security Administration, $25 million.

  • According to Young's letter, $10 million of the funds will be used to establish the department's Science and Technology Directorate, $20 million for the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate, $50 million for space-related costs of the new department headquarters, and $45 million for salaries and benefits of the new staff.

    Young asked Daniels to provide additional information about the new department's funding by Feb. 10, much of it having to do with the IT operations of the department. For example, he asked Daniels to describe a new command center the department plans to build and how the department plans to spend $12.9 million allocated for IT, telecommunications and WAN communications.

    Young honed in on the department's plans for an architectural framework for IT and telecommunications. He asked Daniels to describe how the new department would assure interoperability among all HSD agencies, and what management structure the new department will use to ensure that IT planning, acquisition and development meet statutory and business requirements. 'Who is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of this architecture?,' Young wrote.

    The Appropriations Committee chairman also advised Daniels that the Transportation Security Administration had not filed reports requested by the committee, and asked Daniels to help obtain the information.


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