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 Keep the Federal Emergency Management Agency Distinct From the Massive (and Potentially Cumbersome) Department of Homeland Security.
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H.R. 5005. Creation of a Department of Homeland Security/Vote to Keep the Federal Emergency Management Agency Distinct From the Massive (and Potentially Cumbersome) Department of Homeland Security.
house Roll Call 353     Jul 26, 2002
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the federal agency responsible for directing and coordinating activities on the ground during an emergency situation. In an effort to streamline the jurisdiction of the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during debate on the DHS consolidation bill, Congressman Oberstar (D-MN) proposed an amendment which would have maintained FEMA's status as an independent federal agency. In the view of Progressives, Oberstar's proposal was necessary to insure that FEMA would continue to respond quickly to emergency situations. Including FEMA with numerous other agencies within the DHS, Progressives worried, would require enormous bureaucratic coordination and could hinder FEMA's ability to respond quickly as situations warrant. More generally, Progressives supported Oberstar's amendment as a way to limit the size and scope of the new Department. In contrast to other executive departments, the legislation which would create the DHS limited congressional oversight in DHS affairs. Progressives worried that congressional influence in domestic security activities, which were already limited in the DHS legislation, would be further diminished if the DHS contained agencies that were not directly involved in preventing future terrorist attacks. Despite the support from Progressives, the Oberstar amendment was rejected by a 165-261 vote margin.

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