Joe on Homeland Security: All Talk, No Action
ALL TALK, NO ACTION FOR CONNECTICUT
Sen. Joe Lieberman has issued a lot of press releases about his supposed commitment to seriously funding Connecticut’s homeland security needs. He has bragged about his senior position on the Senate Homeland Security Committee supposedly meaning solid results for Connecticut.
But the record shows that while he’s talked a good game, he’s primarily delivered devastating budget cuts while missing the most critical votes in the Senate to force the Bush administration to get serious about homeland security. If Senator Lieberman can’t even show up for security funding for Connecticut citizens, what will he show up for?
LIEBERMAN ISSUES 8 PRESS RELEASES BEMOANING SECURITY BUDGET CUTS, THEN SKIPS ALL VOTES TO INCREASE SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS:
In the lead up to the contentious debate on the floor of the U.S. Senate about appropriating money to fulfill the first full budget of the newly created Department of Homeland Security, Lieberman issued at least six press releases bemoaning the inadequate budget the President had proposed. But when it came time for Congress to do something about it and better-fund homeland security, Lieberman was nowhere to be found. Specifically, Lieberman missed every single vote on funding the Department of Homeland Security in its first year. Most of the legislation voted on would have significantly increased funding for homeland security. The Associated Press noted that instead of attending critical votes to fund and increase the first budget of the Department of Homeland Security, Lieberman “toured a job training center in Arizona, a nanotechnology company in California and a high-tech manufacturing company in New Hampshire.” [Sources: Senate Roll Call Votes #291-306, 7/22/03-7/24/03 Lieberman press releases, 9/17/03, 9/10/03, 6/29/03, 6/17/03, 5/15/03, 3/20/03, 2/27/03, 1/30/03, 1/17/03, 1/16/03 Associated Press, 7/25/03]
LIEBERMAN SAYS CONNECTICUT CITIES AT RISK OF TERROR ATTACK, YET SKIPPED DECIDING VOTE TO INCREASE SECURITY FUNDING FOR CONNECTICUT CITIES:
In 2006, Lieberman issued a press release saying “Connecticut cities are at risk for terrorist attacks” and bemoaning the fact that, because of budget cuts, Connecticut cities had being cut off from the federal government’s program to target homeland security funds to urban areas. “Year after year, reduced funding nationwide for homeland security grants, pursuing a wrong-headed policy in exact opposition to what every expert says it should follow,” Lieberman said. “Forcing cities to compete for an ever decreasing share of federal support is tantamount to disarming in the middle of a war.” Yet, on 7/24/03, Lieberman could have cast the deciding vote to pass bipartisan legislation increasing homeland security funding for the very programs that could have targeted money to high-threat urban areas. The amendment was authored by New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D) in response to news that homeland security funding was not being properly targeted to urban centers. The legislation was defeated on a tie vote – meaning Lieberman’s missed vote resulted in the bill being killed. Had the legislation passed, it could have meant critical homeland security money for the Connecticut cities that Lieberman lamented were cut off from urban-targeted homeland security resources because of budget cuts. The same day he skipped this critical vote to bring money back to Connecticut, he was in Connecticut holding a public event to trumpet his efforts to bring money back to the state. [Source: Senate Roll Call Vote #302, 7/24/03 Lieberman press release, 6/17/03 Lieberman press release, 7/24/03 Lieberman press release, 1/3/06]
LIEBERMAN SKIPPED VOTE ON DODD BILL TO FUND FIRST RESPONDERS; DODD HARSHLY CRITICAL OF THOSE WHO DIDN’T HELP PASS BILL:
On 7/24/03, Lieberman skipped a vote on legislation authored by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) that would have significantly increased funding for Connecticut and other states’ firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and emergency medical personnel by reducing President Bush’s tax cut for those making more than $1 million a year. After the vote, Dodd criticized those who did not help pass it. “People here have left themselves vulnerable politically,” he said. “And they’ve also exposed the vulnerability of the country.” [Source: Senate Roll Call Vote #299, 7/24/03 Hartford Courant, 7/26/03]
LIEBERMAN SKIPPED VOTE TO INCREASE PORT SECURITY FUNDING; BILL DIED ON 2-VOTE MARGIN:
On 7/23/03, Lieberman skipped a vote on legislation to increase port security grants by $300 million. The bill was defeated on a 2-vote margin. [Source: Senate Roll Call Vote #294, 7/23/03]
LIEBERMAN SKIPPED DECIDING VOTE TO CRACKDOWN ON HOMELAND SECURITY CONTRACTING ABUSES:
Following an explosive story in the New York Times about lobbyists trying to profit off homeland security contracts, legislation was proposed to create safeguards against top Bush administration officials using departmental funds to personally profit. Specifically, a bill came to the floor of the Senate to prevent federal homeland security employees from immediately cashing in their experience and lobbying for firms with business before the federal government. Lieberman skipped the vote, and the bill died on a tie vote. In other words, Lieberman’s absence meant the difference between the bill passing and the bill being killed. Not surprisingly, reports have subsequently surfaced about Homeland Security officials leaving their jobs and immediately cashing in. As the New York Times reported in June of 2006, “At least 90 officials at the Department of Homeland Security or the White House Office of Homeland Security—including the department’s former secretary, Tom Ridge; the former deputy secretary, Adm. James M. Loy; and the former under secretary, Asa Hutchinson—are executives, consultants or lobbyists for companies that collectively do billions of dollars’ worth of domestic security business.” [New York Times, 4/29/03 AP, 1/13/05 New York Times, 6/18/06; Roll Call Vote #305, 7/24/03, U.S. Code Title 18, 207]