Sunday, August 24, 2008

Coleman's out-of-touch record: transportation security

Original Link:

by: Jeff Rosenberg

This is the fifth in a series of weekly articles exposing Norm Coleman's record on the issues. All data in this series comes from CQ Weekly.
Previous articles cover Coleman's record on transportation, the environment, education, and employment.

Did you think that transportation security was an obvious opportunity for bipartisan agreement? Did you think that only a maniac could vote against securing our planes, trains, and cargo ships? Well, then you haven't been following the career of Norm "W" Coleman. The following is a list of some of Coleman's most egregious votes against securing our transportation networks:


Coleman voted to privatize core air traffic control functions, system specialists and maintenance of systems and flight service stations. You've seen what the privatized TSA program is like; do you really want to outsource our transportation security?


Coleman voted AGAINST an amendment to increase funding for rail and transit security by $350 million (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 181). This is such a small number, when you consider the amount of damage that could be done in an attack. Coleman's vote against this is nothing short of disgusting.


This was a banner year for Coleman in terms of voting against our security.

First, he voted AGAINST an amendment which would appropriate approximately $302 million for aviation security programs (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 180). Well, it's not like anyone has ever attacked our aviation system, right?

Immediately after that, he voted AGAINST appropriating $70 million to the Transportation Security Administration to identify and track shipments of hazardous materials by truck using global positioning system (GPS) technology (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 181).

Next, he voted AGAINST an amendment that would provide an additional $100 million for transportation and infrastructure grants, increase port security grant funding by $50 million to $200 million and increase intercity bus security grants to $15 million (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 185).

He did vote for one amendment supporting transit security grants. This bill would have provided $1.2 billion for transit security (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 186); I have no idea why he would support this bill and vote against the others. Well, at least one out of four ain't bad... no, wait--it stinks. Unfortunately, the only amendment Coleman voted for was voted down by the rest of the Republicans.


Coleman wrote an amendment that would require the screening of all high-risk maritime cargo inbound to the United States (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 245). Sounds good, right? Well, not so fast.

He wrote this amendment because he voted AGAINST an amendment that would require the Homeland Security secretary to develop a plan for scanning all of the cargo containers destined for and departing from the United States (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 246). So I suppose he's in favor of inbound cargo being safe, just not that safe. And outbound cargo? Who cares?


Once again, he voted AGAINST scan all cargo entering the United States (SENATE ROLL CALL VOTE 56). I want to explain here: the 9-11 Commission said that the technology to do this effectively was a few years in the future. This bill would have given the Department of Homeland Security five years to put the technology in place to screen cargo efficiently and economically. So how could Coleman oppose screening cargo?

The bottom line: Norm "W" Coleman has consistently voted against funding for transportation security. And even when he voted for something, he was usually voting for the weaker of several options. That's just unacceptable. I can't think of many votes that were more important to this country, and Coleman shirked his responsibility to keep us safe.

No comments: