Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Gregg Takes Lead In Attacking Bush's Homeland Security Budget

Both Republican and Democratic senators took aim Tuesday at the president's proposed 2007 Homeland Security budget in a hearing, saying it fails to live up to Bush's strong warnings about the threat of terrorist attack.

Leading the attack was Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH). It's the latest example of Congressional Republicans taking a stand against the Bush Administration. Over the past few months, Congressional Republicans have come out against a variety of issues, including federal funding of stem cell research, the way the administration handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, warrantless surveillance, and the proposed transfer of ports to a United Arab Emirates-owned company.

This is what happens when the President's approval rating is at an all-time low, and mid-term elections are just around the corner.

"It's a hollow budget and I can't understand it," Gregg told Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff yesterday. "I've watched the press conferences where the administration says it is committed to border security and domestic defense, and this budget isn't going to get there."

Gregg said the funding priorities of the Bush administration treat border protection like "a stepchild of national defense."

The budget does not fulfill a funding commitment to add 1,500 law-enforcement officers to guard the borders against illegal aliens. Money needed to hire the officers and supply additional beds to house illegal aliens awaiting deportation would come from the administration's proposal to double fees paid by commercial airline passengers from $2.50 per airport stop to $5. The same proposal to increase passenger fees was killed last year by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK).

"The increase in funding is tied directly to the fee increase, and they know that is a non-starter," Gregg said. "Ted Stevens says it's a non-starter and proved it last year, yet the administration sends up [this] budget."

Gregg had sought to have the White House include border protection funds as part of $92.2 billion in supplemental funding the Bush administration is seeking. But the Bush Administration declined his requests.


Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Does President Bush really care about Homeland Security?
In light of all the factual evidences above, no party that I've seen -- outside of blogs such as JABBS -- is addressing this critical question, in particular as a relevant contrast to all the stenographed, Bush/Rovian propaganda about protecting America against terrorists.
It's the old conservative trust-in everything-the-Bush-Administration says-on-national-security theory, even while its' actual actions provide little reason to support such a theory.
Such a lack of curiosity places all America in grave danger. We are all responsible.

One other argument: I am disappointed in the reporting on the UAE port controversy, which appears to be sorrily lacking in many areas.
I've seen this question repeatedly raised on blogs, but as far as I can tell NO ONE is making an attempt to get an answer:
Who exactly financially benefits from this deal? One assumes the UAE government and shareholders of the British company, but what is the U.S. government's stake, if any? In addition, are there people in the U.S., Bush Administration officials or otherwise, that have controlling stakes or shares in either the British or UAE entities involved that stand to gain from this deal?
Might the answers to these questions be very relevant to the discussion of the motivations behind U.S. officials in pushing through this deal?
Maybe it's only me, but I've been banging my head against the wall on this one.
Secondly, I've been hearing a lot of chatter about the UAE being a valuable ally in the War on Terror, and how it has done so much since 9-11 to assist the U.S. in fighting terrorists.
But I personally haven't seen anyone addressing the existence of any concrete proof to demonstrate whether the government has convincingly eradicated all past ties with the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Then I see news headlines yesterday proudly proclaiming, "UAE port deal found to pose little security risk," as if that should be the end of the story.
Isn't even a "little" security risk in this post 9-11 world too much?

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Demeter said...

He Wants Something

It's not about security, it's about dividing the spoils so Gregg gets more.

12:55 PM  

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