Moments ago, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment proposed by Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN) that would have provided $1.25 billion in desperately needed funding for port security and disaster preparedness. The Sabo amendment [.pdf] included:– $300 million to enable U.S. customs agents to inspect high-risk containers at all 140 overseas ports that ship directly to the United States. Current funding only allows U.S. customs agents to operate at 43 of these ports.Meanwhile, the Bush budget – which most of the members who voted against this bill will likely support – contains an increase of $1.7 billion for missile defense[.doc], a program that doesn’t even work.
– $400 million to place radiation monitors at all U.S. ports of entry. Currently, less than half of U.S. ports have radiation monitors.
– $300 million to provide backup emergency communications equipment for the Gulf Coast.