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"House To Consider DHS Spending Bill"

Monday, June 11, 2007

House To Consider DHS Spending Bill

The House the week of June 11 is expected to consider the $36 billion fiscal
year 2008 DHS spending bill that was cleared last week by the Appropriations

In addition to funding the operations of DHS and its component agencies,
including TSA, the measure includes $560 million for explosives detection
system (EDS) purchase and installation, some $120 million more than was
requested by the President. Additionally, the bill provides $5 million for a
pilot program to provide for the physical screening of airport workers prior
to their entry into secure areas. 

The committee approved a provision that would fine employers at airports
that fail to collect airport security badges following the termination of an
employee. The provision would make any employe-r-other than a governmental
entity or airport operator-liable for civil penalties up to $10,000 for
failing to collect or make reasonable efforts to collect a Security
Identification Display Area (SIDA) badge from the employee on the date an
employee is terminated and for failing to notify the airport operator within
24 hours of the termination. While there were discussions about possibly
eliminating the airport operator exemption from the original language, the
exemption for airport operators did remain as part of the bill. 

Other key provisions in the legislation include: 

. The bill provides $264 million for EDS/explosives trace detection
equipment maintenance and $25 million for operation integration. 

. The measure once again requires TSA to develop and submit within 60 days
of enactment a detailed spending and deployment plan for EDS equipment on an
airport-by-airport basis. 

. The bill provides $250 million for checkpoint support, $114 million above
the amount requested by the President. Funding is provided for pilot testing
and deployment of advanced checkpoint explosives detection equipment and
screening techniques to determine optimal deployment, as well as preferred
operational and equipment protocols. 

. The measure provides $2.589 billion for passenger and checked baggage
screeners-an amount that would support 43,866 screeners. 

. The bill provides $45 million for document checkers at the largest 40
airports, $15 million below the level requested by the administration. 

. The committee report directs TSA to submit wait-time data on a quarterly
basis for domestic airports with above-average wait times and for the top 40
busiest airports. 

. The report encourages TSA to explore the consolidation of checkpoint and
checked baggage screening at Category III and IV airports. 

. The committee report notes that TSA has proposed not to screen passengers
at newly federalized airports or to require that the airports and heliports
bear those costs. The report notes that current law requires the screening
of all passengers before they board commercial aircraft and directs TSA to
provide screening at those airports and heliports that have requested

. The bill provides $4 million for airport perimeter security pilot

. The report states that, "The committee supports a robust program to
reinforce security at GA airports and directs TSA to continue funding
ongoing activities." 

. The legislation includes $462 million for the US-VISIT program, some $100
million above last year's level. 

. The bill provides $73 million for air cargo security, some $17 million
above the budget request, to train and deploy canine teams and hire more

. The committee said it anticipates the collection of $35 million in user
fees to support the RT program in fiscal year 2008.

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