Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Craig Thomas and Mike Enzi, both R-Wyo., voted in favor of legislation they believe will improve the nation’s defense against domestic and international threats. The vote came a week after the terrorist bombings in London.
The Senate passed H.R. 2360, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, Thursday by a vote of 96-1.
“In the wake of the London bombings, we are reminded to remain vigilant against terrorism. By approving funds to keep our nation secure, we have shown that our commitment to safety and our resolve to protect our nation have not wavered. We were also careful to ensure that rural states will continue to receive an equitable share of funding,” Thomas said.
“Defending our nation is of great importance and resources are needed to continue combating terrorism overseas and at home. This bill funnels money to our borders, our railways, our seas, and to programs that can prepare Wyoming to protect against disasters. This bill focuses on the many fronts that need to be addressed to secure our homeland,” said Enzi.
The bill would provide more than $31 billion in funding for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2006.
More than 12,000 Border Patrol Agents, 1000 of which are new, would be funded under the bill as well as over 18,000 Customs and Border Protection Officers. About $340 million would be provided for the U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology, which enhances U.S. security by verifying the identity of visitors with visas. Around $8 million is designated for security measures on the nation’s railways, $4 million of which would deploy inspectors to conduct on-site investigations of mass transit and passenger rail systems to ensure the systems meet new security guidelines. An additional $2 million in funding is allocated to deploy canine explosive detection teams on rail systems.
State and local programs for coordination and preparedness will receive around $2.7 billion. About $615 million of those funds will be used for Firefighter Assistance Grants. The Disaster Relief fund would receive $2 billion to respond to domestic disaster, natural or man made.
The House passed its version of H.R. 2360 by a vote of 424-1 on May 17, 2005. The two bills will now go to a conference committee where the differences will be reconciled.