Led by its new Democratic Party majority, the House of Representatives this week passed an anti-terrorism bill designed to implement recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, including measures calling for public-safety interoperability and a new model for distributing Homeland Security funding.

Key aspects of the bill are designed to increase screening of cargo entering the United States, enhance government information sharing and improve first responders’ communications interoperability. The bill authorizes the establishment of a grant program—something the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) favors, presuming the funding for the program is not taken from another public-safety resource, said Yucel Ors, APCO’s legislative director.

“APCO has long supported a dedicated grant program and believe that this is the right direction,” Ors said. “We just want to make sure they don’t rob Peter to pay Paul.”

While the bill would authorize the grant program, Ors noted that the legislation does not include any appropriations or cost estimates for the proposed program.

Before any appropriations discussions can begin, similar legislation needs to be approved by the Senate, said an aide for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. After that, a conference committee likely would be needed to negotiate final language.

But getting such 9/11 Commission legislation approved by the Senate could prove to be much more challenging than it was in the House, according to several sources.

One aspect of the House bill calls for distributing Homeland Security to areas of the country considered to be more likely targets of terrorist attacks, meaning more funding would be directed to more populous regions, which have more House members. Currently, each state is guaranteed to receive at least 0.75% of Homeland Security funding, while the House bill calls for a minimum of 0.25%—or 0.45% for states with an international border.

In the Senate, where a higher percentage of members represent rural areas, the notion of significantly cutting Homeland Security funding to less-populous constituencies may not be received as favorably as it was in the House.

The White House administration expressed support for the risk-based allocation of Homeland Security dollars but opposed measures in the House bill regarding collective bargaining rights for Transportation Security Administration employees, scanning of U.S. cargo containers before loading in foreign ports and the inspection of all air cargo on passenger planes.