The latest in an uninterrupted stream of post-9/11 examples of backward GOP priorities came last week, when the Republican Senate blocked attempts to increase funding for more than a dozen programs in the 2005 Homeland Security spending bill. What were the proposed increases? You know, diamond-tiaras-for-black-teenage-mothers-type stuff: $300 million dollars for port security, $146 million for firefighters, $70 million to track shipments of hazardous materials, $50 million for more federal Air Marshals, $70 million to secure chemical plants, $625 million for discretionary grants for high-threat, high-density urban areas, $350 million to improve security at points of entry into the United States.
Those programs, which would help secure our safety, would cost the U.S. taxpayer about $1.6 billion.
What will the government be spending money on instead? Bush, in his weekly radio address, sums it up:
In the next several months, more than $9 billion will be spent on contracts that will help Iraqis rebuild schools, refurbish hospitals and health clinics, repair bridges, upgrade the electrical grid, and modernize the communication system. Prime Minister Allawi and I agree that the pace of reconstruction can and should be accelerated, and we're working toward that goal.
How can anyone who is truly concerned with homeland security vote for these folks?
This post may also be found at Rox Populi.