Napolitano Takes Bipartisan Hits on Border Budget Proposals – CQ Homeland Security

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the border security aspects of President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget request against criticism from the right and left Thursday.

Democrats at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing concentrated on efforts to prevent dangerous materials from entering the county, while Republicans tended to focus on keeping out dangerous people.

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., raised concerns about the inability of the department to implement provisions of the Sept. 11 commission recommendations (PL 110-53) that mandated the screening of all maritime cargo entering the country.

Like her predecessor, former Secretary Michael Chertoff, Napolitano has said the department cannot meet the statutory deadline of 2012 for screening 100 percent of the shipping containers. Thompson said that belief appeared to be reflected in a greater than 40 percent decrease in maritime cargo-screening operations funding the fiscal 2011 budget request.

Napolitano said the administration’s thinking had evolved on the issue.