Homeland Security Act: The Rise of the American Police State (Part 3)
By Jennifer Van Bergen
t r u t h o u t | Report
Wednesday, 4 December 2002
Homeland Security Act
The concerns of civil libertarians about incursions on civil liberties under the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act or
Homeland Security Act do not begin to make a dent on public awareness (or in Bush policy-making)
because they do not consider the Cheney Plan for Global Dominance. The Plan supersedes all.
Global domination is the universal dream of every secret warrior. As one of my students wrote in class a
few years ago: "The two major Universal Drives seem to be Dominance (survival) and Sex (love). As long as
these two conflicts don't arise, there is peace in the world."1
But, while everyone may share such drives, not everyone has "an inordinate sense of his own
entitlement"2 like Bush and those in his inner circle have.
If you have the underlying belief that you must dominate in order to survive, you are unlikely to have
much concern for civil liberties.
The Homeland Security Act, like the PATRIOT Act, is a further incursion on American civil liberties.
Both of these Acts arose out of a deeper background policy of global domination and disregard for the
sanctity of individual human rights.
Federal Supervision of First Responders
The biggest charge that Jasper makes against the Homeland Security Act is that it "mandates federal
supervision, funding, and coordination of 'local first responders' - specifically police and emergency
personnel," thus expanding federal control of local law enforcement.
The sections in the Homeland Security Act that concern "first responders" are in Title V: Emergency
Preparedness and Response, but there is no specific mandate of federal control over local police. The
provision simply provides for coordination and guidance. Although centralization appears to be the only way
to properly handle emergency preparedness on a sufficiently large scale to protect our country, there is,
nonetheless, reason for concern that central federal coordination could lead to loss of local control and to
potential federal militarization, especially in view of the many other measures and events that support such
a possibility - such as, the Military Tribunals without constitutional procedural protections, the preemptive
"war" on Iraq, the refusal of hearings and legal representation to "unlawful enemy combatants" and
Guantanamo detainees, the indefinite detention of immigrants who are not even determined to be a danger
(also often without hearings or representation), information-sharing provisions, the mixing of foreign and
domestic investigations under FISA, Citizen Corps, and many more new measures now under the
Homeland Security Act enumerated below.
According to the United States Northern Command (USNC), "First responders are the men and women
who are "first on the scene" as a natural or man-made disaster unfolds. They are also the last to leave the
scene. First responders are policemen, firemen, emergency medical technicians. ... There are 11 million
state and local first responders in 87,000 jurisdictions throughout the United States."3
The USNC states that: "Our nation's structure of overlapping federal, state, and local governance - more
than 87,000 different jurisdictions - provides a unique opportunity and challenge for U.S. Northern
Command. Operations are underway to develop interconnected and complementary relationships and plans
to support first responders. Everyone on this broad team, including U.S. Northern Command, wants to
ensure the safety and security of the American people" (emphasis added).
USNC notes that the Posse Comitatus Act (18 USC 1385)4 "generally prohibits U.S. military personnel
from interdicting vehicles, vessels and aircraft; conducting surveillance, searches, pursuit and seizures; or
making arrests on behalf of civilian law enforcement authorities."
USNC adds: "Prohibiting direct military involvement in law enforcement is in keeping with long-standing
U.S. law and policy limiting the military's role in domestic affairs."
However, the USNC notes four statutory exceptions to this prohibition: (1) counter-drug assistance (10
USC 371-82), (2) Insurrection Act (10 USC 331-34), (3) crimes using nuclear materials (18 USC 831), and
(4) chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction (10 USC 382).
According to a March 6, 2002 article by Gary Seigle on Government Executive Magazine, titled "'First
responders' to terrorism seek federal strategy, equipment," first responders themselves were seeking
federal assistance and guidance. Seigle writes: "A national training standard should be established and
maintained by the federal government for first responders who are poorly prepared and equipped to
recognize or respond to a weapon of mass destruction attack, emergency officials told a congressional
According to the New York Times, General Ralph E. Eberhart, now in charge of USNC, said earlier this
year that he would welcome a review of existing restrictions against using military forces domestically.
(See Part 2 of this series, footnote 2.) Meaning, presumably, overturning the Posse Comitatus Act. Doing
so would essentially mean allowing a standing domestic army.
James Madison, a proponent of strong national government, wrote:
In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the executive
magistrate. Constant apprehension of war has the same tendency to render the head too
large for the body. A standing military force with an overgrown executive will not long be safe
companions to liberty.
Patrick Henry said: "A standing army [will] execute the execrable commands of tyranny." This is "a
most dangerous power," he declared.7
Other provisions of concern are:8
Title II creates a Directorate of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection, charged with creating
and maintaining a massive data base of public and private information on virtually any individual in the
United States. Information on persons' credit card purchases, telephone calls, banking transactions, and
travel patterns can be compiled and used to assemble a profile that could be used to mark innocent people
as terrorist suspects.
Section 201(d)(5) gives this Directorate authority to "develop a comprehensive national plan for securing
the key resources and critical infrastructure of the United States, including power production, generation,
and distribution systems, information technology and telecommunications systems (including satellites),
electronic financial and property record storage and transmission systems, emergency preparedness
communications systems, and the physical and technological assets that support such systems."
Sounds almost like a communist state.
Under this provision, personnel from the CIA, FBI, DOS, NSA, DIA, and any other agency the President
considers appropriate, "may be detailed to the Department for the performance of analytic functions and
related duties" (201(f)(1)).
This makes the Directorate equivalent to a massive domestic intelligence agency like the KGB. KGB
translates as "the Committee of the State Security."
Private sector analysts may be used and cooperative agreements between agencies are authorized
(201(e)(2) and (f)(3)).
It is true that information sharing may be necessary, but these provisions, to say the least, obliterate
the distinction between foreign and domestic intelligence gathering that was codified by the charter of the
Central Intelligence Agency of 1947 and by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. Indeed, if the
PATRIOT Act did not eviscerate those statutes, the Homeland Security Act finishes the job.
Section 214 exempts "critical infrastructure information" that is voluntarily submitted to "a covered
Federal agency" (201(f)(2)) from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Once such
information is submitted to the government, it cannot be used in any civil action against the person or entity
that submitted it and government officer who knowingly discloses such information would be subject to
criminal penalties (including imprisonment) and fines, as well as the loss of his or her position.
Senator Leahy (D-Vt) warned that the FOIA exemption would "encourage government complicity with
private firms to keep secret information about critical infrastructure vulnerabilities, reduce the incentive to fix
the problems and end up hurting rather than helping our national security."9
The People for the American Way note that the exemption keeps the Department of Homeland Security
"from having to defend non-disclosure of information in a court of law."
As one reporter noted: "U.S. law does not treat leaks of defense information as a criminal act, nor
should it. But leaks of business information will now be a crime."10
Section 225 absorbs the entire text of the Cyber Security Enhancement Act of 2001 (CSEA) which
previously passed the House as a freestanding measure (HR 3482). Sponsored by Lamar Smith (R-TX), the
CSEA allows service providers to voluntarily provide government agents with access to the contents of
customer communications without consent based on a "good faith" belief that an emergency justifies the
release. The same section allows for the installation of pen register and trap and trace devices without a
court order where there is an ongoing attack on a "protected computer." Any computer involved in interstate
Title III concerns "Science and Technology in Support of Homeland Security." Section 304, according
to the national Gulf War Resources Center, Inc., "grants the HHS secretary extraordinary powers to declare
a health emergency simply based on a POTENTIAL threat. This means that a hypothetical threat analysis
from intelligence agencies that failed to warn of Sept 11th could be used as a reason to suspend civil
liberties and start mandatory smallpox vaccinations."
The Cure Autism Now Foundation noted on their website that, "In an eleventh hour maneuver, the House
suddenly amended the Homeland Security Act with a rider that makes it impossible for families who believe
their children were neurologically damaged by non-essential mercury based additives [thimerosal] in
vaccines to sue for civil damages --- even in cases of fraud or criminal negligence."11
Parents Requesting open Vaccine Education (PROVE) and The Connecticut Vaccine Information
Alliance (CTVIA) state that not only does the Act "let drug giant Eli Lily off the hook for thimerosal based
vaccine induced injuries and deaths," but there are "no personal, religious, or medical exemptions" for the
forced smallpox vaccinations, if the authority is exercised, and "no guarantees for humane quarantine
Under Section 308, "extramural research development, demonstration, testing, and evaluation
programs ... to ensure that colleges, universities, private research institutes, and companies (and consortia
thereof) from as many areas of the United States as practicable participate" is authorized.
While it may make sense for government to draw upon academia for research, etc., universities must
retain their educational independence if academic freedom is to be preserved. Government intrusion taints
A clear illustration of abuse of academia were the "extramural" programs carried out under Central
Intelligence Agency Projects Bluebird, MkUltra, and Monarch, from the 1940's through the 1970's. These
C.I.A. projects funded similar such organizations to carry out "research" on unwitting American citizens to
see if drugs or other "scientific" methods, such as hypnosis, "psychic driving," or other forms of mind
control programming, could be used to brainwash individuals.13 That was in support of homeland security,
Titles IV and XI relate to immigration and border issues. The American Immigration Lawyers
Association (AILA) states that the law "fails to provide for a high-level official who is focused on our nations
immigration policy, relegates immigration services to a bureau that lacks its own Under-Secretary, provides
little or no coordination between immigration enforcement and services, and fails to adequately protect the
important role of immigration courts."14
AILA further warns that although the Homeland Security Act "codifies the existence of the courts and
the Attorney General's authority to control them," it "fails to address key concerns such as the role and
independence of the courts and the impartiality of the judicial process." Two recent conflicting appellate
decisions about whether immigration courts should be viewed as equivalent to what are known as Article III
courts (federal courts) in terms of the public's First Amendment right of access to hearings support AILA's
Section 871 allows the Homeland Security Department to form advisory committees exempt from
sunshine provisions in federal law that normally allow citizens to find out what occurred in meetings of such
committees. This provision is clearly Cheney's answer to those who have sued him to produce records of
his energy policy advisory committee.
Section 891 contains the entire text of the Homeland Security Information Sharing Act (HSISA), which
passed the House under HR 4598 earlier in the session. This provision will facilitate the sharing of sensitive
intelligence information with state and local authorities and allows for greater sharing of grand jury
information and electronic surveillance context.
What Didn't Get In
Section 770 prohibits all federal agencies from implementing the Terrorism Information and Prevention
System (TIPS). Section 815 prohibits the development of a national identification system or card. The
so-called Total Information Awareness program (TIA), according to one senator, did not get in, although the
Pentagon is still creating the database; the Directorate under Title II, however, is hardly less extensive, the
main difference being that TIA mandates the development of new technology. Since the technology is being
developed anyway, this is a distinction without a difference.
All in all, the Homeland Security Act is a frightening piece of legislation. One would have thought that
the "walk softly and carry a big stick" ideal had long ago been proven to be in the grab bag of Big Dicks:
those not worthy to be in the office of the president. This legislation and the acts of this administration
purport to be for our protection, but they expose us to greater dangers. While the administration tells us to
be afraid, be very afraid, they make sure we are not looking at our own faces.
As Glen Phillips, lead singer/songwriter of the now-defunct band, Toad the Wet Sprocket, aptly wrote in
his 1997 song "Whatever I Fear,"
Whatever I fear the most is whatever I see before me
Whenever I let my guard down, whatever I was ignoring
Whatever I fear the most is whatever I see before me
Whatever I have been given, whatever I have been.
Jennifer Van Bergen is a regular contributor to TruthOut. She has a J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo
School of Law, is a contributing editor of Criminal Defense Weekly, an adjunct faculty member of the New
School Online University, a division of the New School for Social Research, and an active member of the
Back to Main Page
Horowitz - Vaccine Injury,
Homeland Security And Culpability
By Leonard G. Horowitz, DMD, MA, MPH
NOVEMBER 20, 07:56 ET
Bush Hails Homeland Security Vote
By JESSE J. HOLLAND
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate approved the
largest government reorganization since World
War II in hopes of preventing another Sept.
11-type attack. But the monthslong effort may
have been just a warmup for a bigger battle over
how to get the new Homeland Security
Department up and running.
``Setting up this new department will take time,
but I know we will meet the challenge together,''
a jubilant President Bush said after the Senate,
nearing adjournment of the 107th Congress,
voted 90-9 on Tuesday to authorize the new
On a day that gave Bush a number of decisive legislative victories, the president hailed the
bill as ``landmark in its scope.''
``The United States Senate voted overwhelmingly to better protect America and voted
overwhelmingly to help people find work,'' Bush said at a news conference Wednesday in
Prague, Czech Republic, referring to bills creating the new department and bolstering
businesses with terrorism insurance.
Speaking with Senate Republican leaders from Air Force One as he flew to NATO meetings
in Europe, the president said the Senate's work ``ends a session which has seen two
years worth of legislative work which has been very productive for the American people.''
Eight Democrats and independent Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont voted ``no'' on the
homeland security bill, which merges 22 diverse agencies with combined budgets of about
$40 billion and which employ 170,000 workers. It will be the largest federal reorganization
since the Defense Department was created in 1947.
Tom Ridge, director of the White House Office of Homeland Security, indicated Wednesday
that he would head the new department if that's Bush's wish.
``I'm prepared to serve the president in whatever capacity he thinks I can serve the
country,'' Ridge said, when asked about this on CBS' ``The Early Show.''
But the battles over the department are just beginning. It will take months for the agency
to get fully off the ground. And a budget stalemate continues to block most of the extra
money for domestic security enhancements both that parties want for the fiscal year that
began Oct. 1.
On top of that, many senators were not happy with the final version of the bill and said
they would work to make changes next year.
``I have no doubt that next year we will back addressing the shortcomings that are in this
bill,'' said outgoing Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
But Republicans cheered the bill's passage, saying it was better to have a final product
than to keep trying to amend the legislation.
``The terrorists are not going to wait for a process that goes on days, weeks or months,''
said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who will be next year's Senate majority leader.
The Senate also:
—Sent Bush a bill making the government the insurer of last resort for terrorist attacks,
with a maximum annual tab to taxpayers of $90 billion. The vote was 86-11.
—Voted 55-44 to approve U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Shedd to be an appeals court
—Sent Bush a measure keeping federal agencies open through Jan. 11, needed due to
unfinished spending bills.
—Used voice votes to approve about 130 land and water bills. They included a bill sent to
the House extending for three years the CalFed project, aimed at restoring the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which provides water for drinking and irrigation for much
of the state.
The 107th Congress isn't officially finished yet. The Senate was to meet again Wednesday,
with no voting planned. The House was to meet Friday to give final, voice-vote approval to
small changes the Senate made in the homeland security bill before sending it to Bush for
Most senators fled Washington on Tuesday, cleaning out their desks and saying goodbye to
departing members like 99-year-old GOP Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, as well
as GOP Sens. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, Fred Thompson of Tennessee, Bob Smith of
New Hampshire and Phil Gramm of Texas.
Some Democratic senators were on their way out as well, including Sens. Jean Carnahan
of Missouri, Robert Torricelli of New Jersey and Max Cleland of Georgia, all of whom either
lost re-election campaigns or did not run.
Cleland, who lost his legs and an arm in Vietnam, used a variation on Gen. Douglas
McArthur's famous farewell that ``old soldiers never die, they just fade away'' in his final
``This old soldier is not going to fade away, but I will take my battles to another front,''
Cleland said to Senate applause.
Completion of the homeland security bill ended a topsy-turvy odyssey for legislation that
started inching through Congress nearly a year ago against Bush's will, only to see him
offer his own version after momentum became unstoppable.
Democrats resisted Bush's bill because it restricted labor rights of the new department's
workers. But many reversed course after their Election Day loss of Senate control was
attributed partly to the homeland security fight.
The 107th Congress has seen the world change around it during a tumultuous two-year
Bush won a $1.35 trillion, 10-year tax cut but saw a vibrant economy stall and federal
surpluses become deficits. Terrorists killed nearly 3,000 last year when they crashed
commercial airliners in Washington, New York City and southwestern Pennsylvania. And a
historic 50-50 Senate tilted Democratic after Jeffords left the GOP, only to see Republicans
grab it back on Election Day.
Left unresolved in this Congress were such issues as prescription drug benefits for the
elderly, retirement fund protections and the rights of patients in managed care programs.
THE HOMELAND SECURITY ACT OF 2002
[Excerpted from Congressional Record of 11/14/02]
Thursday, 14 November 14, 2002
Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan:
"...as Senator Byrd has said so many times on the floor, we need to look at details. We need to know
what is in this bill. It is a different bill that came back. I was deeply disturbed as I looked through it. I want
to support homeland security. I support developing a department. We all share that. This is not a partisan
issue. We want to have maximum safety, security and ability, communicate it effectively and efficiently,
and create the kind of confidence people expect us to create in terms of the ability to respond and ideally
prevent attacks. But my fear is that under the name of homeland security we are saying special interest
provisions are put in this bill which are outrageous and should not have the light of day. I think it is our
responsibility to shine the light of day on those provisions."
Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia:
"I remember years ago, when I was in the House of Representatives, sending out a little booklet to the
people in my then-congressional district of how our laws are made ...[describes the process of hearings,
committees, debate, reports, etc. etc.]... we all remember how those laws are made according to the script
as prepared there in those handsome little booklets that we send out. That is how the American people
expect this Congress to operate. That is the way we are supposed to operate.
But the way this bill was brought in here, less than 48 hours ago, a brand-new bill. It had not been
before any committee. It had undergone no hearings, not this bill. It is a bill on our desks that has 484
pages. There are 484 pages in this bill.
It has not been before any committee. There have been no hearings on this bill. There have been no
witnesses who were asked to appear to testify on behalf of the bill or in opposition to it. It did not undergo
any such scrutiny.
It was just placed on the Senate Calendar. It was offered as an amendment here. And so here it is
before the Senate now. There it is. That is not the way in which our children are taught how we make our
laws--not at all.
The American people expect us to provide our best judgment and our best insight into such
monumental decisions. This is a far, far cry from being our best. This is not our best. As a matter of fact, it
is a mere shadow of our best. Yet we are being asked, as the elected representatives of the American
people, those of us who are sent here by our respective States are being asked on tomorrow to invoke
closure on these 484 pages.
If I had to go before the bar of judgment tomorrow and were asked by the eternal God what is in this bill,
I could not answer God. If I were asked by the people of West Virginia, Senator Byrd, what is in that bill, I
could not answer. I could not tell the people of West Virginia what is in this bill.
There are a few things that I know are in it by virtue of the fact that I have had 48 hours, sleeping time
included, in which to study this monstrosity, 484 pages. If there ever were a monstrosity, this is it. I hold it
in my hand, a monstrosity. I don't know what is in it. I know a few things that are in it, and a few things that
I know are in it that I don't think the American people would approve of if they knew what was in there.
Even Senator Lieberman, who is chairman of the committee which has jurisdiction over this subject
matter, even he saw new provisions in this legislation as he looked through it yesterday and today. As his
staff looked through it, they saw provisions they had not seen before, that they had not discussed before,
that had not been before their committee before.
Yet we are being asked on tomorrow to invoke cloture on that which means we are not going to debate
in the normal course of things. We are going to have 30 hours of debate. That is it, 30 hours. That is all, 30
hours; 100 Senators, 30 hours of debate.
And this is one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation I have seen in my 50 years. I will have been
in Congress 50 years come January 3... Never have I seen such a monstrous piece of legislation sent to
this body. And we are being asked to vote on that 484 pages tomorrow. Our poor staffs were up most of the
night studying it. They know some of the things that are in there, but they don't know all of them. It is a
sham and it is a shame.
We are all complicit in going along with it. I read in the paper that nobody will have the courage to vote
against it. Well, ROBERT BYRD is going to vote against it because I don't know what I am voting for. That
is one thing. And No. 2, it has not had the scrutiny that we tell our young people, that we tell these sweet
pages here, boys and girls who come up here, we tell them our laws should have.
Listen, my friends: I am an old meatcutter. I used to make sausage. Let me tell you, I never made
sausage like this thing was made. You don't know what is in it. At least I knew what was in the sausage. I
don't know what is in this bill. I am not going to vote for it when I don't know what is in it. I trust that people
tomorrow will turn thumbs down on that motion to invoke cloture. It is our duty.
We ought to demand that this piece of legislation stay around here a while so we can study it, so our
staffs can study it, so we know what is in it, so we can have an opportunity to amend it where it needs
Several Senators have indicated, Senator Lieberman among them, that there are areas in here that
ought to be amended. What the people of the United States really care about is their security. That is what
we are talking about. We don't know when another tragic event is going to be visited upon this country. It
can be this evening, it can be tomorrow, or whatever. But this legislation is not going to be worth a
continental dime if it happens tonight, tomorrow, a month from tomorrow; it is not going to be worth a dime.
There are people out there working now to secure this country and the people. They are the same people
who are already on the payroll. They are doing their duty right now to secure this country.
This is a hoax. This is a hoax. To tell the American people they are going to be safer when we pass this
is to hoax. We ought to tell the people the truth. They are not going to be any safer with that. That is not
the truth. I was one of the first in the Senate to say we need a new Department of Homeland Security. I
meant that. But I didn't mean this particular hoax that this administration is trying to pander off to the
American people, telling them this is homeland security. That is not homeland security. Mr. President, the
Attorney General and Director of Homeland Security have told Americans repeatedly there is an imminent
risk of another terrorist attack. Just within the past day, or few hours, the FBI has put hospitals in the
Washington area, Houston, San Francisco, and Chicago on notice of a possible terrorist threat.
This bill does nothing--not a thing--to make our citizens more secure today or tomorrow. This bill does
not even go into effect for up to 12 months. It will be 12 months before this goes into effect. The bill just
moves around on an organizational chart. That is what it does--moves around on an organizational chart.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, on which Senator Stevens and I sit, along with 27 other
Senators, including the distinguished Senator who presides over the Chamber at this moment, the Senator
from Rhode Island, Mr. Reed, tried to provide funds to programs to hire more FBI agents, to hire more
border patrol agents, to equip and train our first responders, to improve security at our nuclear powerplants,
to improve bomb detection at our airports. That committee of 29 Senators--15 Democrats and 14
Republicans--voted to provide the funds for these homeland security needs. Those funds have been in bills
that have been out there for 4 months.
But the President said no--no, he would not sign it. President Bush is the man I am talking about. He
would not sign that as an emergency. These moneys have been reported by a unanimous Appropriations
Committee. But this administration said no. So that is what happened. These are actions that would make
America more secure today. Did the President help us to approve these funds? No. Instead, the President
forced us--forced us--to reduce homeland security funding by $8.9 billion, and he delayed another $5 billion.
This is shameful; this is cynical; this is being irresponsible. It is unfair to the American people. And then to
tell them Congress ought to pass that homeland security bill--that is passing the buck.
Mr. President, I call attention to a column in the New York Times. This is entitled ``You Are A Suspect.''
It is by William Safire. I will read it:
"If the homeland security act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you:" Listen,
Senators. This is what William Safire is saying in the New York Times of November 14, 2002. That is
today. This is what the New York Times is saying to you, to me, to us: "If the Homeland Security Act is not
amended before passage, here is what will happen to you: Every purchase you make"-- Hear me now--
"Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical
prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you
receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend--all these
transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as ``a virtual,
centralized grand database.'' ... "Political awareness can overcome "Total Information Awareness," the
combined force of commercial and government snooping. In a similar overreach, Attorney General Ashcroft
tried his Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), but public outrage at the use of gossips and
postal workers as snoops caused the House to shoot it down. The Senate should now do the same to this
other exploitation of fear." [ see complete Safire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/14/opinion/14SAFI.html -- Byrd reads the entire article to the Senate]
If the American people, if the American public is to believe what they read in this week's newspapers,
the Congress stands ready to pass legislation to create a new Department of Homeland Security. Not with
my vote. Passage of such legislation would be the answer to the universal battle cry that this administration
adopted shortly after the September 11 attacks: Reorganize the Federal Government.
How is it that the Bush administration's No. 1 priority has evolved into a plan to create a giant, huge
bureaucracy? How is it that the Congress bought into the belief that to take a plethora of Federal agencies
and departments and shuffle them around would make us safer from future terrorist attacks?..."
Showdown Could Impact Homeland Security Bill
By The Associated Press
Monday, 18 November, 2002
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush called wavering lawmakers Monday in hopes of thwarting a
Democratic drive to force changes in the homeland security bill, but he lost the support of the senator who
vied with him for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination.
The Democrats want to eliminate provisions that would help vaccine producers, airport security
companies and other industries.
The Senate was expected to vote as early as Tuesday to approve the bill, which would merge 22
agencies and 170,000 workers into a Department of Homeland Security. The measure was Bush's top
remaining legislative goal for the lame-duck Congress, which hopes to end its postelection session this
First, the Senate planned a Tuesday morning showdown over a Democratic drive to delete sections of
the bill that would provide legal protections to makers of airport screening equipment, to airport security
firms and to other groups that Democrats consider GOP special interests. Republicans said Congress
routinely offers legal shields to producers of security products during wartime.
A provision of the bill also would protect pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits over vaccines they
create and their side effects.
With Democrats clinging to a 50-49 majority, counting independent James Jeffords of Vermont, every
vote counted and interests ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Public Citizen, the consumer
advocacy group, was weighing in.
Complicating the White House's chances, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he would support the
Democratic amendment. McCain, who unsuccessfully challenged Bush for the White House nomination,
was unhappy that the pro-industry provisions were added ``without proper deliberation,'' said spokesman
Bush called at least two senators Monday, including undecided Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., to ask him to
oppose the Democratic changes, said the senator's spokesman, David DiMartino. Nelson is a moderate
who helped break a two-month stalemate over the legislation last week by saying he would support it.
Also making calls was Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Health and Human Services
Secretary Tommy Thompson. Ridge is said to be Bush's choice to head the new Cabinet-level department
once it is formed.
White House officials signaled they would paint a vote to change the bill as an effort to slow its
progress. They used that tactic successfully during the fall congressional campaigns, in which the GOP
captured Senate control and enlarged their House majority.
``This remains the highest priority for this lame-duck Congress,'' said White House spokesman Scott
McClellan. ``We would hope that there would not be action taken that could stop this bill from getting
Besides Nelson, Republicans were hoping for support from Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. She faces a
run-off election Dec. 7 in which some Democrats worry she might be hurt if their party continues slowing
work on the homeland legislation.
Her fellow Louisiana Democrat, Sen. John Breaux, will support the Democratic amendment, said
spokeswoman Bette Phelan. Breaux joined Nelson last week in supporting the overall bill.
Republicans were also in danger of losing Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. They seemed certain to
win the support of Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., a co-sponsor of the underlying GOP bill.
The Senate's lone independent, Sen. Dean Barkley of Minnesota, has not announced his position but
has talked frequently with White House lobbyists, said his aide, Bill Hillsman.
``We're hopeful, but we will need some Republicans to join us'' to win, said Ranit Schmelzer,
spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
Hoping to accuse Daschle of further delaying the legislation, aides to House Speaker Dennis Hastert,
R-Ill., and No. 3 House GOP leader Tom DeLay of Texas threatened to bring the House back into full
session if the Senate should make important changes to the bill.
``Daschle's continued obstruction ignores the American people's unmistakable demand to grant
President Bush the authority to strengthen the country,'' DeLay said in a written statement.
Senate aides said the full House will have to approve the bill again anyway, although it could be done
quickly by voice vote without many members present. That is because the Senate bill corrects a pair of
technical errors in the House legislation, such as one section that mistakenly refers to an aviation security
law instead of the homeland security bill.
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