News Releases

Senator Murray Votes for Homeland Security Bill

Jul 14 2005

$31 Billion Plan Makes Progress on Border Security, Port Security, First-Responders, and Veterans Despite Spending Limits Imposed by Bush Administration & Budget Resolution

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) voted for the FY 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which passed the Senate 96 to 1.

Murray worked on the $30.86 billion proposal as a member of the Senate's Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

"This bill takes steps forward to protect our communities, but it still comes up short on critical challenges like port security, border protection, and first responders," Murray said. "I appreciate the efforts of the Senate to improve the Bush Administration's inadequate proposal. We need to do better, but I'm voting for this bill so we can lock in the progress we've made so far."

Border Security

One area Murray worked to improve was border security. Last year, Congress called for 2,000 new Border Patrol Agents to be hired. President Bush's budget would allow only 200 to be hired. Murray worked to provide funding for 1,000 agents in this bill, which is five times more than the President would allow.

Port Security

Murray also worked to improve port security. America's ports have identified $6.5 billion in security needs. President Bush's proposed budget would have completely eliminated the port security grant program. At Murray's insistence, this bill now provides $200 million for port security grants.

First Responders

The bill also makes progress for local first-responders, including urban search and rescue teams. Estimates show that urban search and rescue teams need $30 million to meet today's challenges. The President's budget request offered only $7 million. With Murray's support, the final bill now includes $18 million.

Veterans Healthcare

The bill also includes the $1.5 billion in veterans healthcare funding that Murray helped secure to make up for a shortfall at the Veteran's Administration.

Other Provisions

  • Provides $20 million for operations for U.S. Coast Guard District 13 (Seattle)

  • Provides $2.8 million to build a new breakwater at Neah Bay

  • Eliminates the President's proposal to increase aviation security fees

  • Stands up the 4th Northern Border Air Wing (based in Billings, Montana).

  • Provides $40 million to help states comply with the REAL ID Act.

The House of Representatives has already passed it's version of a Homeland Security funding bill. Next those two bills will be reconciled by a House-Senate panel, of which Senator Murray is a member.