What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Curbing Presidential Power : H.R. 5005. Creation of a Department of Homeland Security/Vote to Strengthen Congressional Oversight of Department Activities.
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H.R. 5005. Creation of a Department of Homeland Security/Vote to Strengthen Congressional Oversight of Department Activities.
house Roll Call 352     Jul 26, 2002
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, congressional Democrats sought to consolidate those federal agencies which play a role in protecting the U.S. against terrorist attacks into a new cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The new Department would include the Coast Guard, the Customs Service, the Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service among others. The consolidation plan, Democrats argued, would foster information-sharing among the agencies and would therefore offer better protections against possible future attacks. President Bush initially rejected the idea but later crafted a similar restructuring of his own. One major difference between the Democrats' proposal and the Bush plan involved congressional oversight of the new Department. Under the Democratic plan, DHS activities would be subject to oversight and the director of the DHS would require Senate confirmation. The Bush plan, conversely, contained neither of these provisions. During debate on the administration's proposal, Congressman Waxman (D-CA) proposed an amendment which would have tightened congressional oversight of the new Department. Progressives supported the Waxman amendment because, in their view, the new Department should be subject to the standards of congressional scrutiny faced by other executive agencies. The Bush plan, Progressives worried, would erode Congress's influence in security matters and therefore undermine the constitutional separation of powers. Republicans voted unanimously in opposition to the Waxman proposal and the measure was defeated on a 175-248 vote.

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