Senate stalls emergency funding
- By William Matthews
- Apr 06, 2000
An emergency spending bill that included nearly $100 million in new funding
for information technology has stalled — and possibly died — in the Senate.
The $13 billion bill was passed last week by the House.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) refused Tuesday to schedule
a vote on the bill, which he called "bloated." Lott said through a spokesman
that he didn't see any need to pass it on an "emergency" basis, as the House
did March 29.
Among the information technology projects included in the bill:
* $45 million more in spending on "urgent cybersecurity needs" at three
nuclear weapons laboratories. The extra money would raise spending to $49
million this year. The Energy Department, which runs the labs, is under
fire for lax computer security that may have let a scientist transfer nuclear
secrets to China.
* $38.5 million to buy new computer equipment for the Agriculture Department's
Farm Service Agency county agriculture offices. Swamped with requests for
aid from farmers hit by natural disasters and low prices, the offices "are
hobbled by severely outdated computer systems," according to the Office
of Management and Budget.
* $26.6 million of unspent Year 2000 money at the Transportation Department
would have been transferred to other, unspecified accounts within DOT.
* $2.25 billion in a multiyear Year 2000 emergency fund would have been
trimmed to $2 billion, with $5.5 million of it to be transferred to Congress.
* The Office of Management and Budget requested $9 million "to jump-start"
several counter-cyberterrorism programs planned for 2001. The House did
not oblige, but OMB officials had hoped the Senate would.