Bush backs Senate on security

Despite reservations, the White House came out in support of the Senate's version of the first Homeland Security appropriations bill on Monday.

The $29.3 billion bill, which is $1 billion more than Bush originally requested, would increase funding for key areas, including the Coast Guard, aviation security and intelligence.

The administration objected, however, to some management issues in the Senate version of the bill. Bush requested control of departmental operations funding, but lawmakers allocated funding to independent accounts in each of the five major directorates.

"In some areas the committee has not adopted the administration's proposed approach, potentially inhibiting essential coordination by retaining 'stovepipes,'" the administration said.

The administration said the Senate bill increases bureaucracy, making it harder for the secretary of the department to reassign staff on a temporary basis.

Although the Senate bill would cost more than the administration planned, Congressional Democrats say that even more spending is necessary and plan on trying to add more money for security at ports, borders and high-risk urban areas such as New York and Washington.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans will try to restore funding for Project BioShield, Bush's $5.6 million program to develop vaccines and other deterrents for biological and chemical weapons. Although the House version of the Homeland Security bill provided $890 million for the program, the Senate appropriators included no money for the program.

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