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Secretary Johnson lists cuts in vital public safety grants without DHS appropriations bill
In recent days I have repeatedly stressed the need for a DHS appropriations bill for FY 2015, unburdened by politically charged amendments that attempt to defund our executive actions on immigration reform. The President has made plain that he will veto a bill that includes such language.
As long as this department -- which interfaces with the public more than any other -- is funded by a continuing resolution, there are a whole series of activities vital to homeland security and public safety that cannot be undertaken.
One of the many consequences of operating on a continuing resolution is our inability to fund new non-disaster grants to state, local and tribal governments, law enforcement, emergency response officials and fire departments. Every governor, mayor, police chief, county sheriff, emergency manager and fire chief should care about this. These officials know that the grants we provide help them protect their communities. For example, last week when I visited the multi-agency coordinating center in Phoenix responsible for the security of the Super Bowl, officials pointed out to me that almost all the surveillance and communications equipment there was funded by the Department of Homeland Security.
Here are some other examples of the types of state, local and tribal government activities vital to homeland security and public safety that are funded by grants from this Department:
- salaries for state and local emergency managers in all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia;
- new communications equipment for over 80 public safety agencies in the Los Angeles area to replace aging and incompatible radio systems;
- surveillance cameras and environmental sensors used by the New York City Police Department to detect in real time potential terrorist activity;
- increased security for the MTA, PATH trains and tunnels in the New York City area;
- improved campus security at K-12 public schools, colleges and universities in the state of Florida;
- K-9 units to detect explosive ordinance in the state of Massachusetts;
- upgraded oxygen masks and tanks for over 30 firefighter and law enforcement agencies in the Denver metropolitan area;
- the Arizona Counterterrorism Fusion Center, which provides intelligence and information from this Department to state and local law enforcement there;
- fifteen mobile command centers for possible catastrophic incidents in the state of Kentucky;
- 150 firefighter jobs in the city of Detroit; and
- bomb squads in the state of Idaho.
On behalf of the men and women of this department who work every day to keep the homeland safe, I urge that Congress pass an appropriations bill for this department, free of politically charged amendments to defund our executive actions. Time is running short.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.