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House passes Homeland Security bill

WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- A $36 billion Homeland Security bill passed by the U.S. House is short of funds needed for a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, said supporters of the fence.

"Securing our borders and reinforcing our Border Patrol agents is critical to reforming our immigration system," House Republican leader John A. Boehner of Ohio said after Friday's 268-150 vote.

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Boehner and other Republicans said the $1 billion provided by the bill for fencing and tactical support is woefully short of the money needed to build the 854-mile, double-layer fence authorized last year by Congress but never funded. Cost estimates for the fence vary by billions of dollars, the Washington Times reported.

President Bush has threatened to veto the Homeland appropriations bill because it exceeds his budget request. House Democrats, on the other hand, called the appropriations bill fiscally responsible in safeguarding the security of America, the Times reported.

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