Looking for Scandal in All the Wrong Places

UPI reported yesterday (via Power Line News) that the Democrats are “hunting through” the last three defense appropriations bills in search of a “scandal.” The always-charming Democrats are looking for funding requests made by former Congressman Randy Cunningham, hoping to tie them to appropriations that were ultimately made. Cunningham, of course, is serving time in a federal penitentiary after admitting that he took bribes from defense contractors. One wonders, though: if any funding requests he made were inappropriate and can only be explained by the fact that he was on the take, why did so many other Congressmen of both parties vote for them?

If the Democrats really want to find a scandal relating to defense appropriations, they should look closer to home. They used their filibuster of the FY 2006 Defense Department appropriations bill to strip out of the bill significant provisions relating to border security and emergency preparedness that enjoyed majority support. These include:

INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT:

$1 billion: New grant program dedicated solely to providing state and local governments with interoperable communications equipment so states can prepare in advance for a disaster like Katrina or terrorist attack

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS GRANTS:

$1 billion: Grant program dedicated to preparing state and local governments for disasters of all sorts: natural disasters like Katrina, terrorist attacks, or pandemic events

— Allows public health departments to gear up for avian flu outbreak or biological attack

— Enables states and cities to work on issues identified in Katrina like evacuation routes and housing and care of refugees.

— Funds allocated based on threat and risk with amount guaranteed to each state — .55% is the minimum (at least $5 million per state).

BORDER SECURITY INITIATIVE:

$1.1 billion: Major infrastructure improvements to allow the United States to control its border.

Using the filibuster to block reasonable efforts to prepare for emergencies and better control our borders seems pretty scandalous to me. Is it maybe time for some changes in the Senate rules?

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