Thursday, June 25, 2009
The House passed, 389 to 37, a $44 billion spending bill last night that awards the Homeland Security Department a 7 percent budget increase, with money for more border patrol agents and for anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia.
As part of a GOP campaign against President Obama's order to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the bill requires the department to conduct threat assessments for the terrorism suspects being held there. It also requires that the department ensure that detainees are placed on its "no-fly" list and denied immigration benefits including admission into the United States and refugee status.
Those moves complement steps to block the release of Guantanamo detainees into the United States contained in a newly enacted war-funding bill.
The measure would fund more than 20,000 border patrol agents, about double the number employed before the 2001 terrorist attacks. It also provides $10 billion for the Coast Guard, including $242 million in funding for operations in the Persian Gulf and against pirates off the coast of Somalia.
The measure also provides $1.1 billion to equip airports with explosives detection systems, almost double current funding.