Senate sends Homeland Security spending bill to Obama

The Senate gave overwhelming approval Tuesday to a final $42.8 billion fiscal 2010 Homeland Security spending bill after an extended protest by Republicans over the removal of provisions during closed-door conference talks among House and Senate appropriators.

The 79-19 vote sent the bill to President Obama for signing. The House approved the bill last week by a 307-114 margin.

The bill includes language permitting detainees held at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be brought to the United States for trial.

While that drew considerable attention when the House took up the bill, much of the debate preceding the Senate vote appeared to be orchestrated by several Republican senators who were upset over provisions left out of the conference agreement with the House.

"We're learning there's almost nothing politicians won't do to get out of promises they make in the daylight," said Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., complaining that conferees dropped a provision that would have required the Homeland Security Department to build 700 miles of double-layered reinforced fencing along the southern border.

DeMint reminded senators that a majority of the Senate voted to include the provision in the spending bill.

One of the dropped provisions to draw protests would have permanently reauthorized the E-Verify electronic system employers can use to verify the legal status of their workers. Another would have required employers to take action if the Social Security number provided by a worker did not match records with the Social Security Administration.

"People can have little confidence based on our votes here on the Senate floor," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La. "The conference committee work can be diametrically opposed to it on issue after issue."

But in the end, Vitter voted for the spending bill; DeMint voted against it.

Perhaps the only real surprise was the return of Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., to manage floor debate on the spending bill.

Appearing lucid and relaxed, Byrd defended the decision to remove language from the bill requiring 700 miles of double-layered fencing, calling it "too proscriptive and too costly." The bill includes funding to build a virtual fence along the border and to hire more Border Patrol officers, he said.

"The conference report strongly supports all aspects -- all aspects -- of border security and immigration enforcement," Byrd said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.