Saturday, September 20, 2008

HR 6947 Review

Well I have now had a chance to review the ‘reported’ version of HR 6947, the DHS appropriations bill for 2009. As we saw in the Senate version, S 3181, (see: “S 3181 – Senate DHS Appropriations Bill 2009”) there are no ‘general’ provisions in the House bill that would add any programs or requirements to the current Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS).


While it is ‘early’ (adjournment is still expected on September 26th as far as I know) in the appropriations process I still expected to see some sort of add-on to CFATS. Both bills have a way to go so I expect that anything is still possible.




Since there are two separate and different bills in the Senate and the House, once the two bills are passed by their respective legislative body the two bills will go to Conference. The differences will be worked out there. The final combined bill will then go back to the House and Senate for a final vote.


I have heard nothing further about the threat of a presidential veto of a continuing resolution (see: “New Appropriations News”) nor have I heard much recently about a continuing resolution in general. As far as I know the House and Senate still plan on adjourning on September 26th. The Democratic leadership in both bodies had wanted to get a DHS budget passed for electioneering reasons. It is now possible that that could happen by Friday.


I would not be surprised to see a Conference report late Thursday that was not published at the GPO (online where I find my copies) until after a final vote on Friday. I’m not predicting any collusion; it just takes time for the GPO to get the documents properly set up and put online. That final document is where I really expect to see section 500 add-ons that have become so dependable.


Remember, we have a number of bills that have passed in the House (see: “House Passes HR 4806 and HR 6193”) that Chairman Thompson has vowed to get added to the appropriations bill during conference. Since he is the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, he will have an important voice in that conference, though not necessarily the most important.


A Busy Week Ahead


The final week of any legislative session is always busy and hard to keep track of. With the presidential and congressional campaigns in full flower there will be a number of high-profile votes. Unfortunately the DHS Appropriations bill, and especially the chemical security portion of that, does not fit in that category this year. We’ll just have to keep eyes and ears opened.

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