The price I am most concerned with is not monetary. Oh, yes the financial effect or larger government will be significant.
Can we balance this with the effect on our protection versus our freedoms in this republic?
I see discussions in our MA forums concerned with if it is constitutional to permit state and federal authorities to require photo ID’s from passengers of airlines or entrance to government or privately owned buildings, all in the name of public safety, and of the effect of the USA Patriot Act and other post 9/11 acts which could pose questionable intrusion of our Fourth Amendment and First Amendment constitutional rights.
A new agency is about to be launched, and you can be sure it will be once the political posturing is finally resolved.
The report below will give you a sketch of what the Homeland Department controversy is in its current form.
What I did want to make the readers aware of is that congress has the power to delegate the right to enact rules and regulations to the agency (subject of course to limitations), and unless and until challenged and defeated become the law of the land. This congressional authority can be delegated in the new act or added by amendments.
We tend to think of law as that created by legislation and interpreted by the courts; however just think about FDA, FAA, FCC regulations and on the state level Registry of Motor Vehicles and other agencies. You will realize that in Massachusetts, tyro lawyers fresh out of law school often prepared and had approval of the publishing of regulations and rules contrary to business interests, but which seemed very fair to the idealist concepts and ignorance of the inexperienced authors.
It is a process that must go on as government increases in size and structure much to the chagrin of the rights of other citizens or of the business community.
Enthusiastic need to enact is not questioned and in each political era the pendulum swings, and often too far and too fast and becomes burdensome to many.
Many of us remember the regulations in World War II, and the McCarthy era.
Many regulations will be passed that infringe on what we know as our freedoms, but these can only be judged by the arm chair admirals who come to judge in the future and they are known as historians. If it protects us from attack we pay the price as you would rather deal with the devil that you know. History has also proven that in peaceful times, many of the restrictions were eased or lifted, e.g. rationing, travel restrictions, forced conscription, after the war or threat was no longer a viable excuse for their existence.
We have been told that the Agencies or Departments will be accountable and be monitored; will this happen? Only time will tell.
Here is where things stand at this writing:
Senate Opens Homeland Dept. Debate
Tue Sep 3,11:57 AM ET
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate opened debate Tuesday on legislation creating a new Homeland Security Department as White House officials voiced confidence that they and Democrats will settle differences over the bill.
Senate Opens Homeland Dept. Debate
Sen.Joseph Lieberman, the chief Senate sponsor, called the measure "the single most important thing we can do now" in building better defenses against terrorism within U.S. borders.
"If we marshal these strengths of ours, we can make another Sept. 11-type attack impossible," Lieberman, D-Conn., said in opening what is likely to be a lengthy Senate debate.
Tom Ridge, the White House homeland security chief, predicted agreement would be reached but warned anew that President Bush ( news - web sites) will not accept a version of the bill pushed by Senate Democrats. Bush says that bill would deny the president the flexibility needed to manage an agency of roughly 170,000 employees.
"I think we will get it done before they recess for the November elections," Ridge said on NBC's "Today" program. But he said "I would have to recommend the president veto" the bill, if it were passed in its current form in the Senate, because of a lack of managerial flexibility.
Appearing on the same program, Lieberman said, "I think the White House is making up this issue."
"It is not a real issue," he said, "and certainly not reason to veto this bill and delay the security of our defenses, the raising of our guard against terrorist attack."
Ridge and Lieberman sparred on the morning television shows as members of the House and Senate were returning from their summer vacation.
On Monday, Bush jawboned lawmakers to pass the version of the bill that he wants. "Congress needs to get moving," he told a Labor Day crowd near Pittsburgh.
Bush, who returned from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, over the holiday weekend after a month of combined leisure and business travel, invited Republican senators to the White House Tuesday afternoon to discuss the measure. "The president's message is, give me a homeland security bill that allows us to do what we need to do to protect Americans from future attacks," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
That was to be the first of several meetings the White House planned for this week to push Bush's legislative wish-list.
But this also is a critical campaign season for midterm elections in which the balance of power in Congress is in play. So lawmakers are hoping to get out by early October, even as they face a fast-approaching deadline for finishing work on the federal budget.
Congressional leaders will be under strong pressure to recess and then return to finish their work after the Nov. 5 midterm elections. Four incumbent Senate Democrats — Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Jean Carnahan of Missouri — are in tight races that could determine whether the party holds onto its one-seat majority.
In the 435-member House, Democrats need to pick up seven seats to end the GOP's eight-year control.
Among pending issues in addition to counterterrorism legislation are bills designed to shore up the protection of people's pensions and to overhaul U.S. energy policy. And Congress has yet to give final approval to any of the 13 federal appropriations bills for 2003.
But the first order of business for the Senate is the homeland security measure. Democrats are balking at Bush's insistence on greater power to hire and fire and a provision that would bar union membership for some of the employees who would be assigned to that agency.
Bush has argued that he needs the flexibility because the agency would be designed to respond quickly to threats against domestic security.
Ridge said Tuesday "the president believes that you can't just buckle up and bolt things together" in the new department. He said the administration needs flexibility in hiring, firing and assignments.
In an appearance on CBS' "The Early Show," Ridge said that "if you limit the ability of the president to move people around within this organization, you will not have done everything you can to protect this country and our way of life."
Lieberman, in the NBC interview, declared: "I'm basically trying to stick with the tried and true civil service system."