WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush warned senators on Saturday that creating a new Homeland Security Department without the ability to easily shift employees and money would tie the government's hands in fighting terrorism.
"One essential tool this new department needs is the flexibility to respond to terrorist threats that can arise or change overnight," Bush said in his weekly radio address.
"The Department of Homeland Security must be able to move people and resources quickly, without being forced to comply with a thick book of bureaucratic rules."
Bush proposed the creation of the new Cabinet agency in order to combine scattered government functions and more effectively combat terrorism. But he has demanded that the department's leaders have broad powers to hire, fire, reassign and demote the agency's estimated 170,000 workers and to easily transfer funds between its programs.
The Senate version of legislation approving the department does not include those management tools and imposes limits on the president's ability to waive union bargaining rights in matters of national security.
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