WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an effort to ensure that high threat areas receive much-needed funds for homeland security initiatives, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) today joined Senate colleagues in supporting the Feinstein-Cornyn amendment, which directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to allocate increased federal funding based on threat and risk analysis. The amendment distributes 87% of homeland security grants for areas determined to have greater risk.
"When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) raises the terror alert level for very specific threats, as it did recently for our passenger rail systems, the Secretary must not be shackled by a statutory requirement that prevents him from allocating resources to respond to new threats," said Senator Mikulski. "My own state of Maryland is part of the National Capital Region. We are high-threat and high-risk. While it is appropriate for some funds to be allocated to all states, there is an urgent need for homeland security money in high threat areas."
This year's Homeland Security Senate Appropriations bill provides a total of $1.918 billion for state and local homeland security and law enforcement terrorism prevention grants, but changes the formula by which grants are distributed. In his budget submission to Congress earlier this year, President Bush wrote that homeland security funding should be "based on risks and vulnerabilities."
The amendment directs the Secretary of DHS to allocate funding, based on threat and risk analysis, to the four major first responder grant programs administered by the department: the State Homeland Security Grant Program, Urban Area Security Initiative, the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program and the Citizen Corps Program. It also preserves the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program, which provides funding to Baltimore City and the National Capital Region (includes Montgomery and Prince George's County).
This amendment supports the 9-11 Commission's report, which stated: "Homeland Security assets should be based strictly on an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities... Washington, DC and New York City are certainly at the top of any such list."