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October 9, 2006
Volume 84, Number 41
p. 10

National Security

Congress Focuses On Security Before Adjourning

Lois Ember

With the November elections in mind, Congress spent the past few weeks before the Sept. 30 adjournment concentrating on national security related issues to the detriment of most spending bills.

By the time it departed Capitol Hill, Congress had enacted only the Departments of Defense (H.R. 5631) and Homeland Security (H.R. 5441) fiscal 2007 appropriations bills. Two days before the Oct. 1 start of fiscal 2007, all other spending bills were folded into a continuing resolution to keep the rest of the government running.

Congress passed a pork-laden $447.6 billion defense spending bill that President George W. Bush signed into law on Sept. 29. At least $6.7 billion of the total is earmarked for special projects, but nearly $76 billion will be spent on R&D, testing, and evaluation, and nearly $1.3 billion will be used to destroy the U.S.'s chemical weapons arsenal.

On Sept. 29, Congress passed a $34.8 billion homeland security spending bill (H.R. 5441) that allocates more than $973 million to support basic and applied research and other science and technology programs. The bill reached the President's desk on Oct. 3, and he signed it into law the next day.

The bill also authorizes the homeland security secretary to issue interim risk-based security standards for high-risk chemical facilities, but gives him and affected facilities flexibility in how to reduce risks.

Congress also approved a port security bill (H.R. 4954) that includes $2 billion over five years for security training and requires the U.S.'s 22 largest ports to install radiation detectors by the end of 2007. The President received the bill on Oct. 3 and is expected to sign it.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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