The Week of July 13
The floors of Capitol Hill are busy with spending matters this week. While the House churns through two more of its twelve spending bills for fiscal year 2010 - a $33b Energy and Water bill and $24b for Financial Services - senators will wade into lengthy debate over the $690b defense authorization bill, HR 1390. The "authorization" bill doesn't write the check for the military ("appropriations" bills do that), but it does okay what can go into an appropriations bill for next year. One budgetary item that will slow up passage is a $2b allotment for F-22 fighter planes: the Pentagon says it doesn't need the extra planes; the administration doesn't want to pay for them; but lawmakers in the homestates that build F-22s are pushing to buy them anyway.
Bill in Brief
As part of their 2006 campaign, Democrats promised to catch Congress up to speed with all the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. In fairness to Republicans, Congress didn't exactly sit still on security issues before 2007; Dems, however, claim they didn't go far enough.
Issue in Brief
Responding to criticism that homeland security grants don't necessarily go where they're needed most, there's a push in Congress to change how state homeland security grants - also known as "first responder" money - are divvied up.
Now all states get a minimum of 0.75% of federal first responder funding - which added up to a total of $3.6 billion in 2005. What's left over gets doled out according to risk level and need.
Issue in Brief
In January 2006 the US okayed the sale of P&O, a port management firm that leases terminals in six US cities, to a United Arab Emirates company, Dubai Ports World. The sale set off a political frenzy with lawmakers railing over the risks of giving a Muslim Arab state-owned company - with a once questionable terrorist record - any role in US ports.
In the post 9/11 era, national security has become number one priority to many in order to prevent another disaster. But what does the US need to secure within in its borders? One important but usually overlooked potential weakness are the nuclear power plants sprinkled around the country. Below is a short summary of the who, what, where, when, why and how of nuclear power plants and their security.