Friday, June 27, 2008

S 3181 – Senate DHS Appropriations Bill 2009

There is an interesting article on HSToday.US comparing the House and Senate appropriations bills for DHS. The general figures in the article are the same ones discussed here in an earlier blog (see: "Congress Working on DHS Appropriations Bills"). There are some interesting observations about some pork barrel spending found in the House bill. Since I have yet to see a published copy of the House bill I cannot really comment except to say "Who wouda thought?"

The article provides a date for the target adjournment date for the House; September 26th. Presumably the Senate will not adjourn to stop the President from making any between-session appointments to the Judiciary.

In a ‘don’t we wish it were so’ moment, the article ends with an interesting comment:

  • "The full Congress will consider the appropriations bills next month, potentially moving a politically uncontroversial homeland security funding bill to the White House before the November elections."

I am still halfway expecting someone to slide in a provision extending the authorization for the CFATS regulations for at least an additional year. This would probably make many in the industry happy. It would also give the House leadership some political cover for their failure to get HR 5577 to the floor in a timely manner. Such a provision would be anything but quiet; too many people (myself included) are watching for it.

S 3181

The Senate bill (S 3181) was available on both and the GPO web sites today. also has a link to the Senate Report (110-396) for the bill. As of today there are no ‘chemical security’ provisions found in the Title V, General Provisions (sections 500 thru 549) portion of the bill where so many legislative goodies are found. This section always provides interesting reading.

Infrastructure Security Compliance

The Appropriations Committee Report on S 3181 (Report 110-396) has an interesting comment about the funding for chemical facility security programs:

  • "The Committee recommends $75,000,000, an increase of $12,000,000 from the budget request, for chemical site and ammonium nitrate security programs. The Committee notes that while the administration has requested increased funding for what it now calls Infrastructure Security Compliance, new statutory requirements for the regulation of ammonium nitrate will consume a substantial amount of the requested increase. The Committee recommends $10,750,000, to fully fund the authorized appropriation amount for ammonium nitrate regulatory activities."

This means that my earlier report of a $12 Million increase for chemical facility security is actually only a $1.25 Million increase. Oh well, it is still an increase and DHS will need every penny it can get if it is to manage CFATS implementation with any reasonable degree of oversight. Remember next year is Site Security Plan reviews and DHS facility inspections.

For those who have forgotten (or maybe never knew if you are new reader of this blog) last year’s omnibus spending bill contained one of those neat ‘General Provisions’ programs requiring DHS to establish a regulatory program covering the buying and selling of ammonium nitrate (see: "DHS and the Omnibus Spending Bill"). We should expect to see a proposed rule being published on these regulations in the next week or so.

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