Senate gives DHS appropriations bill the nod

The Senate yesterday approved a $32 billion fiscal 2005 appropriations bill for the Homeland Security Department. The House OK'd the bill Saturday.

The bill now will be sent to the White House for President Bush's signature.

The vote in the Senate followed an agreement reached in the upper chamber over the weekend to limit debate on the Homeland Security bill and other measures. Disputes over farm subsidies and soldiers' pay had held up the bill, but conferees adopted a compromise version of the appropriations bill on Saturday that the House passed by a vote of 368 to zero.

The full text of the conference report on the bill, HR 4567, is not yet available.

But the Senate Appropriations Committee issued a thumbnail summary of major provisions, including:

* $3.98 billion for first-responder grants for state and local governments, some of which will go to IT projects

* $449 million for systems modernization at the Customs and Border Protection agency

* $340 million for the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program

* $140.8 million for national security and emergency preparedness telecommunications

* $106.6 million for critical infrastructure outreach and data sharing efforts

* $67.8 million for cybersecurity projects in the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate

* $18 million for research on cyberthreats by the Science and Technology Directorate.

Overall, the conference version of HR 4567 exceeds the administration's request by $896 million and funding this year by $2.8 billion.

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