House OKs Fiscal 2004 Homeland Security Bill

WASHINGTON

The House gave overwhelming approval June 24 of the first bill to finance the new Homeland Security Department and shower $29.4 billion on local emergency workers, airport screeners and a new drive against bioterrorism.

The fiscal 2004 Homeland Security appropriations bill was approved, 425-2, following debates over several contentious amendments. Voting against the bill were Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Democrats supported it even though they said the measure would fall short of meeting the nation’s needs for protecting ports, borders and airports. Republicans said the bill would continue the upgrades in domestic safety that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Senate has yet to produce its version of the legislation.

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