Port of Baltimore and the Patriot Act
President Bush toured the Port of Baltimore last Wednesday and discussed the state of our nation's security and the importance of renewing the Patriot Act. I attended the event and believe the Patriot Act gives our law enforcement officials the tools they need to help fight our War on Terrorism, but I also believe we must protect people's civil liberties.
I teamed up with Congressman Rick Boucher of Virginia and introduced an amendment that would have required that the 16 controversial provisions of the Patriot Act expire in four years. This so-called "Sunset Provision" would allow Congress to evaluate how the legislation is working, prevent abuses of power, and improve the measure in the future. The amendment received bi-partisan support but was defeated by vote of 218 to 209.
Right now homeland security grants are not awarded based on threats or high-risk areas. I believe it is wrong to give Wyoming more federal security funds per capita than Maryland when Maryland faces more threats because it is home to such high-risk targets like the Port of Baltimore, BWI Airport, the National Security Agency, and Aberdeen Proving Ground. I believe we need to change this formula to better protect our country while we hold grant recipients accountable for how they spend the money. I support legislation that changes the formula to base it on risk.
Here's a link to a video news clip of the event. Click play on the right side of the screen to view the story: http://wjz.com/local/local_story_201062206.html
C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger