A lack of cash is slowing the rollout of enhanced 911 service around the country.
Lawmakers and public safety officials said in Washington that cash-strapped states are using 911 funds to plug budget gaps.
The funds come from fees tacked on to phone bills.
Enhanced 911 technology lets emergency operators locate cell phone users who need help, but only one in ten emergency call centers has it.
Some senators are proposing that $500 million grants be awarded annually to update 911 services and to train emergency workers.
The legislation was proposed by Republican Conrad Burns of Montana and New York Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.