Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman
, D-Conn. -
pushing to add $6.8 billion to President Bush
’s Fiscal Year 2005 homeland security budget - said the Administration’s budget does not acknowledge, much less address, new
terrorist threats that face the nation.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Lieberman said his amendment would provide an additional
$4.4 billion for first responders, who suffer a 30 percent cut in the President’s budget
“We are not as safe as we should be because this Administration has not given homeland
security the focused leadership and resources it demands,” Lieberman said. “Unfortunately,
the president’s budget does not boldly acknowledge and address the many threats that we
face, and it leaves state and local governments bearing too much of the burden of securing
In addition to the $4.4 billion for first responders, Lieberman proposes an additional:
· $900 million for port security
· $500 million for bio-terror preparedness
· $500 million for border security
· $500 million to secure air cargo, as well as trains and mass transit systems.
Some $2.5 billion of Lieberman’s proposal would be used simply to restore cuts the
president made in port security, bio-terror preparedness, and first responder programs. For
example, Lieberman would restore a $1 billion cut to the program that provides primary
assistance to state and local governments and first responders for emergency planning,
equipment, training, and other preparedness activities. He also restores more than $1 billion
in cuts to proven law enforcement assistance programs - the Local Law Enforcement Block
Grant, the Byrne program, and the COPS program - which together have declined more
than $1.8 billion since FY 2002.
Another $1 billion is set aside to help first responders
obtain interoperable communications equipment.
The spending, along with an equivalent amount in deficit reduction, would be offset by a
reduction in tax cuts for those earning more than $1 million a year.
“We have a long way to go before the federal government fulfills the promise made to the
American people following the September 11th attacks, to adequately secure our
homeland,” Lieberman said.
Co-sponsors of the amendment include Senators Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Barbara Mikulski,
D-Md., Frank Lautenburg, D-N.J, Joe Biden, D-Del., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Edward
Kennedy, D-Mass., Jon Corzine, D-N.J., Carl Levin, D-Mich., Herb Kohl, D-Wisc., Barbara
Boxer, D-Calif., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii., Richard
Durbin, D-Ill., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., John Kerry, D-Mass., and Bob Graham, D-Fla.