US Democrats turn up the heat on homeland security

by Canadian Shipper

WASHINGTON, DC — Now in control of the US Congress, the Democrats have unveiled their plan of attack in their campaign to strengthen homeland security.

Democrats say their legislation bill would implement the unfinished 9/11 Commission recommendations that fall under the Homeland Security Committee’s jurisdiction, according to an Associated Press report.
The bill would require private companies to prepare for terrorism and the government would have to inspect cargo on passenger planes and shipping containers leaving the largest ports. Airport screeners would be given whistle-blower protection, money would be set aside to develop technology for detecting explosives at checkpoints and an appeals process would be established for airline passengers mistaken for terrorists on watch lists, according to the AP report.

Democrats have said the Republican-controlled Congress didn’t implement the commission’s 41 recommendations aimed at improving safety after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The bill will be debated and voted on Tuesday without going through the committee process as part of the Democrats'”100 hours” plan to quickly accomplish their priorities.

Homeland Security analysts have said there are no remaining proposals that can easily be enacted into law because they are politically difficult.

For example, the commission recommended that oversight of Homeland Security be given to a single committee. The Homeland Security Department said it reported to 86 committees and subcommittees and gave more than 4,000 briefings in 2005-06. But soon after House Democrats unveiled the 9/11 bill, they announced that the Transportation Committee would share jurisdiction over two Homeland Security agencies: the Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency.


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