Congress agrees on counterterror bill

House and Senate negotiators broke a logjam July 18 to approve a $28.9 billion counterterrorism bill that is filled with money for information technology projects.

Lawmakers reached final agreement on the fiscal 2002 emergency spending package, and the House and Senate were expected to give it final approval early next week and send it to President Bush for his signature.

Members of Congress had sparred over many pieces of the legislation that contains $1.8 billion more than Bush had requested. Increasingly contentious battles involved whether to include funds for lawmakers who wanted to support their own spending priorities and continued worries in the face of mounting budget woes.

"We need to get this down to the White House as fast as we can," said Rep. C.W. "Bill" Young (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

"It's not a perfect package, but sooner or later you have to move on, and now is one of those times," said Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) the ranking Democrat on panel.

The package includes money for a wide range of IT programs. Among them:

* $6.7 billion for homeland security, $2.4 billion above Bush's request.

* $175 million for the FBI's counterterrorism activities, including IT.

* $201 million for first responder grants from the Justice Department; $100 million for emergency preparedness grants at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $150 million in FEMA's fire grant program.

* $3.85 billion for the Transportation Security Administration, $550 million below the request.

* $5.5 billion to assist New York City in its recovery from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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