Senate appropriators have approved legislation that would trim discretionary funds for the Dept. of Homeland Security by about 1%, or $354 million, but provide another round of aid for airports to install baggage-screening equipment.

The measure, which the Appropriations Committee cleared 29-0 on July 10, is about $1 billion higher than the discretionary total that President Bush requested, but about $900 million less than the version that the House passed on June 24.

Most of the difference between the Senate committee and House bills is the $890 million the House has for anti-bioterrorism. The Senate’s budget resolution didn’t allocate that money to its chamber’s appropriations panel.

The Senate Appropriations Committee’s bill includes $5.4 billion for the Transportation Security Administration. That’s down about 10% from the 2003 level of $5.8 billion, but about 4% higher than the $5.2 billion recommended by the House.


Within the Senate’s TSA allotment, $309 million would go to airports to help pay for installing equipment that screens passengers’ luggage for explosives. That compares with the House bill’s $235 million for installation of the screening machines.

The Senate panel’s legislation also has $150 million for seaport security grants, compared with $100 million in the House bill.

The next step for the legislation is a Senate floor vote.