Elements of legislation to create a 170,000-employee Homeland
—Federal Emergency Management Agency
—Transportation Security Administration
—Border inspection part of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
—Immigration and Naturalization Service
—In a concession to Democrats who felt labor rules were being usurped, the agency is required to negotiate workplace changes with the employees' union. Absent agreement, the department can make whatever changes it wants.
—The president can waive union rights for national security, but only after he notifies Congress and waits 10 days.
The bill also:
—Allows commercial airline pilots to carry guns in cockpits.
—Allows a one-year delay in the Dec. 31 deadline for airports to install explosive detection systems to screen all checked baggage.
—Bars the homeland security agency from doing business with American companies that move offshore to avoid U.S. taxes. The head of the agency can waive that rule for national or economic security reasons or if the prohibition results in American job losses or additional costs to the government.
—Transfers the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from the Treasury Department to the Justice Department to better perform its law enforcement responsibilities. ATF's revenue collection functions will remain at Treasury.
—Expands federal planning for domestic preparedness and recovery from terror attacks to include not just Washington, D.C., but adjacent suburbs as well.
—Includes provisions that Democrats described as favors to special interests allied to the Republicans. Among them were new liability protections for pharmaceutical companies that make a mercury-based vaccine preservative and companies that provide airport screening services and other companies making anti-terrorism technology. Another creates a university-based homeland security research center described in such a way that it could exist only at Texas A&M.
—Includes language that could make it more difficult to obtain information
under the Freedom of Information Act and makes it a crime for an agency
employee to reveal information that is supposed to be secret.
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