Senate and House appropriators reached agreement Sept. 25 on a $34.8-billion fiscal 2007 spending package for the Dept. of Homeland Security. Excluding the 2007 measures $1.8 billion in emergency funds, its about $500 million above 2006 appropriations. Conferees included provisions authorizing DHS for the first time to issue interim rules aimed at tightening chemical plant security and let DHS shut facilities that dont meet the standards.

In addition, the legislation would keep the Federal Emergency Management Agency at DHS and require its chief to have emergency response experience.

The bill also has $175 million for rail and transit security grants, up 18% from 2006, and $210 million for seaport grants, a 21% hike.