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"Estimated price tag of security measure causes stir"

Friday, February 2, 2007

Estimated price tag of security measure causes stir 

The federal government would need to spend $21 billion through 2012 to pay
for provisions in a House bill aimed at implementing unfulfilled
recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, the Congressional Budget Office said
late Friday. 

The bill, which was the first to be pushed by House Democrats after they
took control of Congress, would establish several new spending programs that
would need appropriations, such as paying for grants to help state and local
government buy interoperable communications equipment, preventing the spread
of weapons of mass destruction abroad, and improving airport security

According to CBO, the cost to implement the legislation would result in new
discretionary spending of $21 billion from 2007 to 2012. 

The price tag set off a tiff between House Homeland Security Committee
Chairman Bennie Thompson and ranking member Peter King, R-N.Y. 

"This bill was rushed to the floor without the Democratic leadership giving
us any indication of its massive cost--and now we know why," King said. "I
think this $21 billion estimate makes it clear that the bill actually
contradicts 9/11 Commission recommendations, which called for a risk-based
allocation of homeland security resources. Had we known this before the bill
was brought to the floor, it would have been a different story." 

Thompson shot back: "This nation deserves better than bargain basement
security. Perhaps there would not be such sticker shock if the Congress and
the Bush Administration had addressed these security gaps identified by the
bipartisan 9/11 Commission over three years ago."

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