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Senate panel approves special IG to audit Katrina spending

September 23, 2005 The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved legislation Thursday to hire the special inspector general overseeing reconstruction efforts in Iraq to audit the billions in funding for relief and rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The bill (S. 1738) would require the inspector general's office to...

Senate panel OKs grants for first responder communications

September 22, 2005 The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a measure that would authorize the Homeland Security Department to dole out $3.3 billion over the next five years to enable first responders to communicate better during an emergency. The bill, S. 1725, would authorize $400 million in state...

GOP-led panel set to launch probe of Katrina response

September 21, 2005 Lawmakers will have their first chance to grill former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown next week about the government's sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina, House Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis, R- Va., said Wednesday. Davis added that a select panel approved by the House last week to investigate...

Federal agencies aim to polish image in New Orleans

September 19, 2005 Officials from several federal agencies have opened a wireless operations center in Louisiana to ensure that the media receive information about government responses to Hurricane Katrina. Following scathing criticism about the federal government's response to the disaster, public information officials nationwide have descended on the Gulf Coast region. The workers...

GOP senators urge appointment of reconstruction czar

September 15, 2005 More than two dozen Republican senators Wednesday called on President Bush to name an independent manager to oversee the government's efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The senators, led by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.,...

GOP to create bipartisan oversight panel on Hurricane Katrina efforts

September 7, 2005 House and Senate GOP leaders agreed Wednesday to create a bipartisan, bicameral committee to conduct hearings on response and relief efforts to Hurricane Katrina. However, specifics on the committee's structure and when the hearings will be conducted have not yet been agreed upon, GOP sources said. The details could spark...

Senate panel may meet next week on Katrina response

September 6, 2005 The top two senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said Tuesday they plan to hold as early as next week the first public hearing on the government response to Hurricane Katrina. Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, and ranking member Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., said...

Chambers split over money to digitize visitor records

August 19, 2005 The push to digitize citizenship and immigration records will be an issue this fall when House and Senate lawmakers debate the budget for the Homeland Security Department. The House in May voted to provide $40 million for the effort. The money is part of a $30.8 billion spending measure for...

Funding levels to help emergency systems 'talk' differ

August 17, 2005 The House and Senate must negotiate a significant gap in funding for a new security initiative to help emergency responders across state and federal jurisdictions talk to each other. The House in May endorsed a $30.8 billion spending measure for the Homeland Security Department for fiscal 2006 that includes $41.5...

Communications system for air marshals splits Congress

August 16, 2005 House lawmakers want to amplify air-to-ground communication for federal air marshals, but they must convince their Senate colleagues not to cut $10 million from the program. In the fiscal 2006 spending measure for the Homeland Security Department, the House included $699 million for the federal air marshal program -- $10,000...