The Washington Examiner reports that Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) amended the Homeland Security appropriations act earlier this year to reduce spending on screening and explosive detection. The money went to firefighters, which the Examiner says are a “pet constituency of his.”
One of the breakdowns in security that appears to have allowed a bombing attempt on a U.S.-bound plane Christmas day was screening capability. Whatever screening he got did not pick up a small parcel of explosives that he had secreted on his body.
Some background information on this report is in order. The Examiner is a fairly partisan paper favoring conservatives and Republicans, and Dodd is widely regarded as vulnerable in his upcoming election. This is a partisan hit on the Senator.
But it sure seems fair. If there were an outbreak of fires, you can bet Senator Dodd would be front and center bragging about putting money into fire prevention.
As you can see from the copy of the amendment below, Dodd’s amendment was cosponsored by Senator Lieberman (D-CT) and Senator Carper (D-DE). Lieberman is chairman of the Governmental Affairs and Homeland Security Committee, which will soon be holding hearings on the Detroit terrorism incident. He might ask himself, or his fellow Connecticut senator, some questions. In fairness, it’s unlikely that this money would have made the difference.
But it’s up to you Connecticutians (Connectors?) to decide what you think of your senators and how they moved around that homeland security money.
Here, as promised is the amendment:
SA 1458. Mr. DODD (for himself, Mr. Lieberman, and Mr. Carper) submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 1373 proposed by Mr. Reid (for Mr. Byrd (for himself, Mr. Inouye, and Mrs. Murray)) to the bill H.R. 2892, making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes; as follows:
On page 77, between lines 16 and 17, insert the following:
SEC. __ (a) The amount appropriated under the heading “firefighter assistance grants” under the heading “Federal Emergency Management Agency” under by title III for necessary expenses for programs authorized by the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 is increased by $10,000,000 for necessary expenses to carry out the programs authorized under section 33 of that Act (15 U.S.C. 2229).
(b) The total amount of appropriations under the heading “Aviation Security” under the heading “Transportation Security Administration” under title II, the amount for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems under the first proviso under that heading, and the amount for the purchase and installation of explosives detection systems under the second proviso under that heading are reduced by $4,500,000.
(c) From the unobligated balances of amounts appropriated before the date of enactment of this Act for the appropriations account under the heading “state and local programs” under the heading “Federal Emergency Management Agency” for “Trucking Industry Security Grants”, $5,500,000 are rescinded.