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9/11 Commission bill is more political rhetoric than security oriented

Enzi votes against immobilizing TSA workers and decreasing rural state funding

March 13, 2007

       Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed a bill today that does not go far enough to protect Americans, ties the hands of workers who ensure airline security and disregards terrorist threats to rural states, according to U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who voted against the measure.

       "This bill falls short. It penalizes Wyoming by slashing homeland security funding based on our small population alone. With several national parks, busy interstates, and Wyoming’s role as one of the country’s largest energy providers, it is a security risk not to provide adequate funding to defend our state against a terrorist attack," said Enzi.

        Enzi supported efforts to retain the small state minimum for State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) funding, currently .75 percent. The bill reduces the amount to .45 percent and the rest allocated by risk. Enzi cosponsored an amendment to restore the .75 percent level, but the amendment was not included in the bill by a vote of 49-50.

        The "Improving America’s Security Act of 2007", S. 4, also known as the 9/11 Commission bill, includes a provision that would allow federalized Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers to collectively bargain.

       "TSA workers need to be flexible enough to respond to schedule changes due to terrorist attacks or natural disasters, not bogged down in a union bureaucracy. We are in a global war on terror and our airline security screeners should have the same mobility during a crisis as our military personnel. This bill slows the response time and ties the hands of our airline security management," said Enzi.

        The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 60-38. The bill will now be sent to a conference committee where the House and Senate will reconcile differences.