First Responders, FBI Gain In D.C. Budget Votes

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Key members of Congress gave initial approval yesterday to funding increases for local emergency agencies and the FBI, the Associated Press reports. State and local first responders would get about $4.4 billion, nearly $900 million more than President Bush proposed, from a $28.5 billion measure for the Department of Homeland Security approved by a Senate Appropriations subcommittee. The bill boosts spending for airport security equipment and the Coast Guard and has $60 million for testing ways to protect airliners from missiles.

fhe FBI won a $424 million increase, to $4.6 billion, from a House Appropriations subcommittee. Republicans said the money would let the FBI hire nearly 2,500 more agents and analysts. Some worry whether the agency will have enough funds to pursue terrorists while still performing its traditional law enforcement duties. The House panel also restored $1.2 billion that Bush wants to cut out of state and local crime fighting programs, financing the grants and payments at $3.5 billion.


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