House to create Homeland Security appropriations subpanel

House Appropriations Chairman C.W. (Bill) Young, R-Fla., Wednesday afternoon plans to announce the creation of a new Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that will oversee the major functions of the Homeland Security Department created last year.

The proposal, which is still subject to approval by the full Appropriations Committee, would put all the agencies in the Homeland Security Department under one subcommittee, although the total number of subcommittees will stay at 13. "Eight subcommittees have jurisdiction over facets of the new department under the current committee structure," said Young. "Creating one subcommittee will allow us to focus our attention and resources on the unique challenges confronting the new department."

Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., who was supposed to chair the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee again this year, will instead chair the new Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which will oversee two agencies with which Rogers is already familiar-the Transportation Security Agency and the Coast Guard. Both were previously under the Transportation subcommittee's jurisdiction.

The Homeland Security subcommittee also will include several other agencies. From the Treasury-Postal Appropriations Subcommittee will come the Secret Service, Federal Protective Service and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. From the Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Subcommittee, the new panel will get the Immigration and Naturalization Service, First Responder programs and National Infrastructure Protection.

From the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will come the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and Plum Island, while the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee will give up the National Communications System and the Bio-Weapons Defense Center. Various energy and nuclear programs will be moved to the new panel from the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which currently falls under the purview of the VA-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, also will be transferred.

Coming over from the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee will be various emergency response programs, including Metro Medical Response, Office of Emergency Preparedness and the National Disaster Medical System.

The proposal also creates a new Transportation and Treasury Appropriations Subcommittee, which will be chaired by Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., who had chaired the Treasury-Postal Appropriations Subcommittee. The plan basically moves all non-homeland security-related functions from the current Transportation subcommittee to the new Transportation-Treasury subpanel, including the FAA, highways and highway safety, transit programs, safety, Amtrak, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority.

Two agencies currently overseen by the Commerce-Justice-State subcommittee-the Maritime Administration and the Federal Maritime Commission-will also move to Transportation-Treasury. A spokeswoman for the Senate Appropriations Committee had no comment on Young's proposal, and it is unclear whether the Senate panel will follow suit or when it might take up its own reorganization plan.