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/Final Passage of Anti-Labor (Republican) Version of Bill Which Restricts Labor Rights of Public Employees in Department and Limits Congressional Oversight of Department.
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H.R. 5005. Creation of a Department of Homeland Security/Final Passage of Anti-Labor (Republican) Version of Bill Which Restricts Labor Rights of Public Employees in Department and Limits Congressional Oversight of Department.
house Roll Call 367     Jul 26, 2002
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In the wake of the September 11th attacks, congressional Democrats sought to consolidate those federal agencies with 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 such agencies as 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 offer better protections against possible future attacks. President Bush initially rejected the Democratic plan but later developed a similar proposal of his own. Progressives opposed the Bush proposal for two main reasons. First, the new Department would not be subjected to the same level of congressional oversight as are other executive Departments. The new Department, Progressives worried, would be immune from congressional scrutiny and the constitutionally-mandated separation of powers between Congress and the White House would be undermined as a result. Second, the bill would allow the administration to restrict the ability of DHS employees to join a union and negotiate collective bargaining agreements (those rights which are provided to federal employees in every other executive Department). In the view of Progressives, the limitations on labor rights for DHS employees was unfair; those employees, Progressives argued, should be afforded the same labor rights they enjoyed prior to their transfer to the DHS (most DHS employees would be transferred from other federal agencies). The subject of this vote was final passage of the administration's DHS consolidation plan. Progressives opposed final passage for the two reasons described above. On a vote of 295-132, the legislation creating a new Department of Homeland Security was adopted.

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