Senate holds up CAPPS funding

Senate appropriators unanimously approved a $29.3 billion spending bill July 10 for the Homeland Security Department, but delayed funding for a controversial airline passenger profiling system until it is studied.

The Senate Appropriations Committee said it would not approve funding for the Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS) II, until the General Accounting Office studies its impact on privacy. The program would search databases to find information about flyers.

The legislation would not pay for President Bush's proposed BioShield program now, but lawmakers said money for the project to fund bioterrorism research could be added later. A similar version has already passed through the House that included $890 million in BioShield money.

The Senate legislation would fund a wide range of programs, including border patrol and anti-terrorism intelligence. It added $1 billion to Bush's request. It would provide $3.8 billion for first responders and $750 million to protect the infrastructure in high-threat urban areas such as New York and Los Angeles.

The Senate spending bill also includes $40 million for the Coast Guard, earmarked to set up a system of transponders to track vessels in U.S. waters.

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