Civil Liberties Board Gets a Real Budget to Begin With

Jun 30, 2005
Press Release
 WASHINGTON, DC - After a deal struck on the House floor last night, the initial budget of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board created in last year’s landmark 9/11 Commission bill will be doubled to $1.5 million. The board would have had a $750,000 budget under the original FY06 Transportation, Treasury and Housing Appropriations bill, which is now on the House floor. Recognizing that such a level of funding is insufficient for a board tasked with monitoring civil liberties at multiple federal departments, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Christopher Shays (R-CT) - Chairs of the 9/11 Commission Caucus - and Tom Udall (D-NM) offered the amendment to expand the board’s beginning budget.  

“If we are serious about upholding privacy and civil liberties, then we should give the new board resources to do its work,” said Maloney. “In order for this board to do real work, it needs a real budget. I thank Chairmen Lewis and Knollenberg and Ranking Members Obey and Olver for their understanding. This increase is a much better starting point for the board.”

“The 9/11 Commission stated, ‘…if our liberties are curtailed, we lose the values that we are struggling to defend.’ It is vital we find a balance between protecting our homeland and protecting our civil liberties,” Shays said. “Providing a workable budget for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is essential to striking that balance, and I’m grateful we were able to negotiate acceptance of this amendment.”

“We wanted a budget increase because the original level of funding was simply not enough for a board charged with monitoring privacy and civil liberties, implications of federal regulations, executive branch policies and procedures, and public law,” Udall said. “We are pleased that we have managed to double the budget, and we will together to see that the board is given the resources it needs.”

A government-wide Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was created by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (Public Law 108-458). The additional funding will allow the board to begin to develop the infrastructure it needs to do its job and sends a message that Congress fully intends to support this important board.

On June 10 of this year, President Bush made his appointments to the board - the confirmation of the Chair and Vice Chair is still pending.