Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Homeland Security Spending Package

This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee, by a unanimous vote of 28-0, approved a $32.8 billion Homeland Security spending package for Fiscal Year 2007. This bill, which will be put to a full Senate vote on July 10, provides more than $6 billion to boost border protection. Border protection amenities would include an additional 1,000 Border Patrol Agents (not including the 1,000 provided by the FY 2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act).

In addition, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement would receive nearly $4 billion, which would provide an additional 1,000 detention beds (which would be a total of 5,000 new beds, when including those appropriated by the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act).

Finally, an amendment was included in the bill that would delay from January 1, 2008 to June 1, 2009 the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. This initiative requires all individuals entering the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda or Panama to have passports or other secure identification before being allowed to enter this country. This initiative was originally voted into law as part of the 2004 Intelligence Reform Bill.

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