Several agencies would be combined into a new Cabinet-level Department of National Homeland Security under a bipartisan bill recently proposed in Congress.

The bill also proposes that the Homeland Security Director -- currently former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge -- be a formal member of the President's Cabinet.

The agencies proposed to be consolidated include the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs Service and several smaller agencies.

The bill may gain support because it would allow Congress to have oversight authority for Homeland security issues.

President Bush has previously been resistant to making Ridge's office Cabinet-level.



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