US Congressmen agree to tighten border c

Country Briefing E.U.
EIU/ Infoestrategica

The bill, which is likely to pass the House of Representatives this week and go before the Senate next week, would also prevent the Pentagon from making cuts to weapons programmes proposed in its fiscal 2006 budget.

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The controversial border measures, championed by James Sensenbrenner, the House judiciary committee chairman, were stripped from last year's bill to reform the intelligence agencies, but House Republican leaders promised they would be added to the next "must-pass" bill. Already, the congressional delay in passing the emergency spending bill has forced the Pentagon to re-allocate funds to cover Iraq war costs.

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House and Senate negotiators agreed yesterday to set a national standard aimed at ensuring that state driver's licences are not given to illegal immigrants. The bill also makes it harder to obtain asylum in the US, and gives US officials new powers to fence off the US border with Mexico. It provides an extra $450m for border security. The White House, which opposed including the border measures on the intelligence bill, last week reversed its stand, saying it would "strengthen the ability of the United States to protect against terrorist entry into and activities within the United States".

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On procurement, the Pentagon wants to reduce the US aircraft carrier fleet by one ship to 11 carriers, and make significant cuts to the navy's next generation DD(X) destroyer, but congressional defenders of both programmes fought back through the supplemental.

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The bill would prevent the Pentagon from decommissioning the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier until after the Pentagon submits its quadrennial defence review to Congress later this year.

SOURCE: EIU/ INFO-e

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