News Releases

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The U.S. Senate voted today to begin debate on the new Department of Homeland Security, and how the massive new federal agency will be structured.

Many in Congress have expressed concerns about the size and scope of the Administration's proposal for the new department, which was hatched in private by a handful of White House aides.

Senator Murray issued the following statement:

"The creation of a new Department of Homeland Security is a massive undertaking that deserves the utmost care and consideration. Great attention must be given to how the government is reorganized to prevent future attacks while maintaining current missions.

I have some reservations about the Administration's plan. In particular, I am concerned with the proposal to shift the Coast Guard into the new Homeland Security department. As any resident in a coastal or Great Lakes state knows, the Coast Guard provides vital search and rescue, drug interdiction and marine protection missions, which are wholly separate from protecting U.S. interests from terrorist threats. What will be the commitment from the Department of Homeland Security to traditional Coast Guard missions like protecting our marine environment, or enforcing fisheries laws, or conducting search and rescue operations?

I am also concerned with accountability and authority over the staff and budget of the new department. Not only is the Administration seeking the authority to shift taxpayer dollars around without Congressional oversight, but it is also seeking to deny fundamental worker protections to DHS employees.

I hope in the days to come that the Senate is able to improve upon the Administration's proposal. This new federal Department can serve as a lasting tribute to the victims of September 11th, but it must be developed with prudence, consideration and care."