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"Airport Security Funding Amendment Fails In Committee"

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Airport Security Funding Amendment Fails In Committee

The House Appropriations Committee will not approve additional spending
to reimburse airports for security-related expenses as part of the bill.
The panel is nearing completion of its consideration of the Department
of Defense Appropriations bill, which included $200 million in funding
for airports as part of a $7 billion package of additional spending
offered by Committee Ranking Democrat David Obey (D-Wis.) for homeland
defense in the wake of the September 11 attacks. 

The committee voted against the Obey amendment 34-31, with nearly all
Republicans voting against the package. 

The vote had more to do with budget politics than the merits of the
spending in question, according to AAAE/ACI-NA legislative affairs
staff. In fact, many Republicans spoke in favor of the programs targeted
for increased funding as part of the Obey package. They argued, however,
that Congress should provide the spending at a later date. President
Bush had urged the committee and Congress to oppose additional spending
above the $40 billion approved for the Sept. 11 disaster earlier this
year and had worked hard over the past several days to keep Republicans
united on the issue. 

While Reps. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) and Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.) were poised to
offer a separate amendment that also would have provided $200 million to
airports for security-related expenses, they did not offer the amendment
once it became clear that the committee would oppose any and all efforts
to add spending. Pastor, however, spoke in favor of the importance of
additional spending to reimburse airports for security expenses during
consideration of the Obey amendment. 

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