This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. John Carney (D-DE) expressing the “sense of Congress” that intelligence agencies should make rail security a priority and include funding for rail security in their annual budgets. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for U.S. intelligence agencies.
Carney urged support for his amendment: “…Over the past week, officials have announced that preliminary intelligence gathered from Osama bin Laden's Pakistan hideout shows that al Qaeda had been plotting a terrorist attack on our Nation's rail system. While roughly 1.7 million passengers ride on domestic and international flights daily, every weekday 34 million Americans ride on trains and transit systems. The issue of rail security is more relevant now than ever. And I'm here today to argue for making rail security a national intelligence priority. On March 11, 2004, nearly 200 people were killed in Madrid as a result of a terrorist bombing while riding the commuter rail to work. In 2005, over 50 people were killed and 700 injured on the London transit system in a series of explosions during the morning rush hour. An attack on our rail system here in the United States would be devastating. It would almost certainly result in the loss of life.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) opposed the amendment: “While I agree with the need for strong security in the railway sector, I just don't believe this amendment is best suited for the Intelligence authorization bill, as it seems to address the policy issues that are not authorized or otherwise addressed in the FY11 [fiscal year 2011] Intelligence authorization bill. The intelligence community does not have transportation security plans or transportation security budgets, nor do individual intelligence community agencies. In order to meet the requirement of this, they would have to restructure themselves to bring in the right people to do the plans for security for the railway.…given the time pressures on our intelligence community to stop real-time threats and pass that information on to people in the TSA and others, I would argue that this is an amendment that we should all oppose...”
The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 221-189. Voting “yea” were 181 Democrats and 40 Republicans. 187 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment expressing the “sense of Congress” that intelligence agencies should make rail security a priority and include funding for rail security in their annual budgets.