Top senators are proposing an anti-terrorism bill that could spark future clashes with the House of Representatives as it would allocate more domestic security money for smaller and rural states and drop requirements for tougher cargo inspections.
The Senate version of legislation to implement remaining recommendations of the Commission that investigated government actions before and after the September 11, 2001, attacks was introduced by the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Independent Sen Joe Lieberman, and the panel's top Republican, Sen Susan Collins. Their panel was scheduled to vote on the measure on Thursday.
Differences in the Senate and House bills will have to be compromised out before both chambers could act on the final version and send the measure to President George W Bush to be signed into law.
The Senate legislation would drop House-passed provisions that would require that all containers on US-bound vessels be screened in foreign ports for radiation, and all cargo loaded onto US airliners be screened for explosives.
Both were opposed strongly by the Bush administration on grounds that they are too costly and require the use of technology that does not exist.
However, the Senate Commerce Committee passed an aviation security bill on Tuesday that has a similar provision regarding screening of all air cargo.
The bipartisan 9/11 Commission investigated the September 11 terror attacks, and in its final report in 2004 made numerous recommendations to improve domestic security.