Now that our attention is focused on airline security measures thanks to the failed airline attack on Christmas Day, it's worth mentioning that one senator took money away from aviation security to line the pockets of a constituency that supported his presidential campaign in a big way.
Back in July, Senator Chris Dodd, D-Conn., proposed an amendment reducing aviation security appropriations by $4.5 million in favor of firefighter grants — a notoriously inneffective program. In fact, the money was specifically “for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems.” The amendment was also sponsored by Sen. Lieberman, D-Conn., and Sen. Carper, D-Del., but Dodd deserves to be singled out here because the firefighters union is a pet constituency of his. In 2007 he campaigned all through Iowa with the firefighters union. It was one of the few distinguishable features of Dodd's ill-fated presidential bid.
The text of the amendment is below:
(Purpose: To provide additional funds for FIRE grants under section 33 of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974)
On page 77, between lines 16 and 17, insert the following:
SEC. X (a) The amount appropriated under the heading “firefighter assistance grants'' under the heading “Federal Emergency Management Agency'' under by title III for necessary expenses for programs authorized by the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 is increased by $10,000,000 for necessary expenses to carry out the programs authorized under section 33 of that Act (15 U.S.C. 2229).
(b) The total amount of appropriations under the heading “Aviation Security'' under the heading “Transportation Security Administration'' under title II, the amount for screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems under the first proviso under that heading, and the amount for the purchase and installation of explosives detection systems under the second proviso under that heading are reduced by $4,500,000.
(c) From the unobligated balances of amounts appropriated before the date of enactment of this Act for the appropriations account under the heading “state and local programs'' under the heading “Federal Emergency Management Agency'' for “Trucking Industry Security Grants'', $5,500,000 are rescinded.