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Committee members irked by Katrina contracting practices

November 3, 2005 Members of a panel investigating the government's response to Hurricane Katrina Wednesday accused officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers of browbeating local officials into dumping cheaper contracts and signing up the federal agencies' own higher cost contractors. "It's a prevalent practice," Rep. Charles ...

Lawmakers see Katrina czar as first step

November 2, 2005 Lawmakers praised the Bush administration's decision Tuesday to appoint a reconstruction czar to oversee recovery efforts in the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, but many agreed Congress must take additional steps to bring effective management to the operation and protect the interests of taxpayers. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Pete Domenici, ...

Fingerprint checks for truckers called too costly

November 1, 2005 Trucking executives on Tuesday urged Congress to modify security regulations that require drivers carrying hazardous materials to undergo background checks. The House Homeland Security Committee is considering changes to the 2002 anti-terrorism law known as the USA PATRIOT Act, and the changes include the trucking regulations. A spokesman said if ...

DHS pushes 'Ready Business' campaign

October 31, 2005 Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called on businesses to invest in preparing their companies and employees for emergencies like the hurricanes that ripped through the Gulf Coast region this year. The department, along with the Advertising Council, announced new public service advertisements targeted at small to medium-size businesses. The "Ready" ...

Mayors' group urges bigger military role in emergency response

October 24, 2005 The U.S. Conference of Mayors on Monday recommended changes to the federal government's procedures for responding to emergencies, including greater military assistance and "fixing" the role of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "The current legal paradigm is that the military is viewed as the 'resource of last resort' deployed to ...

Homeland Security mulls cyber czar nomination

October 21, 2005 The Homeland Security Department on Oct. 1 created a new post for a cyber-security czar -- a post that the technology industry and Congress repeatedly have urged for two years -- but has yet to nominate a candidate for the job. An announcement in the coming days would coincide with ...

DHS intelligence chief seeks improved information sharing

October 20, 2005 The Homeland Security Department's new chief intelligence officer Wednesday outlined his priorities before Congress, saying he would strengthen the department's intelligence capabilities to raise its profile in the larger intelligence community. Charles Allen, a CIA operative since 1998, joined the department three weeks ago to become its first chief intelligence ...

9/11 commissioners at odds with former backers

October 18, 2005 The former 9/11 Commission is lobbying Congress again to implement recommendations the panel made last year to prevent another terrorist attack, but this time some of its allies have become opponents. Former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., vice chairman of the commission, along with members of the New York delegation and ...

Katrina oversight proposals compete for Congress' attention

October 17, 2005 When President Bush delivers a third emergency supplemental for Hurricane Katrina relief and rebuilding efforts, House and Senate Republican leaders are likely to feel strong pressure again from their rank-and-file to ensure billions of dollars are not wasted. There are several competing management and oversight proposals on the table, with ...

Senate backs more Defense R&D than Bush sought

October 14, 2005 The Senate has rejected the budget President Bush requested for the Pentagon to purchase more equipment in fiscal 2006, but lawmakers approved more funding for research and development programs than Bush proposed. The chamber's version of the appropriations bill for the Defense Department (H.R. 2863) includes $75.8 billion to buy ...