Getting any bills through Congress and signed by the president seems to be a difficult procedure these days — including the bill to reimburse security costs to the host cities of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Congresswoman Diana DeGette, D-Colo., thinks she has finally succeeded to secure those funds. Security for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul is expected to cost an estimated $100 million — funds that are appropriated by Congress and paid for by the federal government.
Both DeGette and Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., have been working with the House and Appropriations Committee leadership since November to sign off on the funding. Last night, in a rollcall 253-154 vote,the House approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act that included the $50 million each for the Democratic and Republican conventions.
Colorado’s Democratic delegation, Representatives DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, John Salazar, and Mark Udall voted yes. Republican representatives Doug Lamborn, Marilyn Musgrave, and Tom Tancredo voted against the bill.
“The security money included in this Act is critical to meet the security needs of both the Democratic and Republican conventions,” DeGette said in a press release. “As Denver and St. Paul are relatively small cities hosting such large events, getting enough funds early will help defray security costs so convention planners can secure important contracts.”
In the Minnesota Monitor, McCollum had some choice words for her Republican compatriots:
House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo, told Congressional Quarterly last week that the funding is not an emergency and that St. Paul can wait. “We’ve only known about the convention for years. It’s not an emergency. We’re not going to let them be included,” he said. “If there’s a true emergency out there, something we wouldn’t have had any reason to anticipate, something that wouldn’t be recurring, that’s an emergency,” Blunt said.
McCollum shot back in a press release saying that the funding is necessary. “St. Paul’s civic leaders and business community have been working tirelessly to ensure a successful and safe convention for our Republican guests. If the Republican leadership in the U.S. House does not want to provide the necessary security funding to protect the President of the United States, the Republican presidential nominee, convention delegates and my constituents then this convention can go somewhere else,” McCollum said.
DeGette noted that she has been in contact with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders to stress the importance of these funds since security expenses are already racking up for the Denver area.
Last week, the Democratic National Committee (DNCC) announced that two longtime members of the Denver Police Department, Frank Conner and Jim Malone, will lead the security team for the Democratic Convention, scheduled next year for Aug. 25-28.