Comparison of House and Senate Homeland Security bills

A comparison of provisions in the homeland security bills passed by the House and Senate and the Bush's administration position on them:

HOUSE BILL

_Grants collective bargaining rights and whistleblower protection to airport screeners.

_Requires 100 percent screening of all U.S.-bound cargo in foreign ports for radiation within 5 years.

_Requires 100 percent inspection of all cargo loaded onto U.S. passenger aircraft for explosives.

_Funds three grant programs, each with guaranteed minimums for each state of 0.25 percent of total. Border states would be guaranteed 0.45 percent. No total amount designated in bill.

_Additional grant program created to improve emergency communications systems, no total amount specified.

_Gives more independence to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, requiring Senate confirmation of its members and granting it subpoena powers.

SENATE BILL

_Grants bargaining rights to screeners on non-pay issues and whistleblower protection; gives the Homeland Security Department broad authority to reassign screeners.

_No provision for cargo screening in foreign ports.

_Requires cargo loaded onto passenger aircraft to be subjected to screening comparable to that of checked bags.

_Creates similar grant programs as the House, but guarantees each state a minimum of 0.45 percent share of the total $3.1 billion in each of the next three years

_Creates an emergency communications grant program, authorizing $3.3 billion over the next five years.

_Gives more independence, but less than the House bill, to Privacy and Civil Liberties Board; would allow the board to ask the attorney general to issue subpoenas.

ADMINISTRATION POSITION

_Opposes collective bargaining rights for airport screeners; advisers would recommend President Bush veto a bill that includes it.

_Opposes 100 percent screening of U.S.-bound cargo in foreign ports, claiming it is too costly and could slow international trade.

_Opposes full inspection of all cargo loaded onto passenger aircraft; wants more flexibility for screeners.

_Prefers House formula that distributes grants on the basis of risk of and vulnerability to terrorism attack.

_Does not believe new program is needed for emergency communication systems.

_Oposes any more autonomy for Privacy and Civil Liberties Board as an encroachment on executive power.

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The House bill is H.R. 1; the Senate bill is S.4

On the Net:

Congress: http://thomas.loc.gov


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