White House Proposal Could Cut Interoperability Grants in Half


 
 

Roy Mark | | Wednesday, December 12, 2007


WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are blasting a Bush administration proposal to cut 2009 funding by as much as half for local emergency management operations, including interoperability grants.

A lack of funding could jeopardize state and local emergency management agencies plans to utilize spectrum that will be auctioned by the government in January.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Homeland Security Office has given $23 billion to states and local authorities for counterterrorism programs.

Homeland Security budgeted another $3.2 billion for similar programs in the 2009 federal budget, but according to White House OMB (Office of Management and Budget) documents leaked to the Associated Press, the administration slashed that figure to $1.4 billion.

Congress has yet to authorize funding for the 2008 budget and the White House s 2009 budget is only in the preliminary stages. Any such proposal would also have to be approved by Congress. Nevertheless, both Democrats and Republicans on Dec. 10 reacted angrily to the proposal.

If true, these proposed cuts would mark a dangerous and disingenuous U-turn in the administration s approach to homeland security and first responders, Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

Lieberman noted that Bush signed legislation earlier this year permanently establishing many of the grants now targeted in cuts. [Bush s] budget office--with no supporting evidence that these programs aren t needed--is now considering a wholesale abandonment of them, he said.

Rep. Peter King, R-NY, the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee and a longtime Bush ally, threatened to cut other portions of the president s 2009 budget if the proposal stands.

King said in a newspaper interview that he initially discounted the budget-slashing proposal, but after talks with top White House budget officials, he is convinced it is not a trial balloon.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn, also issued a statement critical of the proposal.

It s astounding that at the same time the president is calling for more money for his war that has made this country more vulnerable, he is proposing to slash funding for the first line of defense here at home, Dodd said.

With less than what we are spending each week in Iraq, we could fully fund what the Department of Homeland Security said was needed for state and local homeland security programs.

The White House did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Check out eWEEK.com s Government Center for the latest news, views and analysis of technology s impact on government and politics.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Communications and Dispatch, Operations and Protcols, Training

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Medics Ditch Pants for Kilts

“Real men do wear kilts.”
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC September 11 Commemoration

Tolling of the bell begins the anniversary ceremony.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Wrong Fuel Cited in New Mexico Air Ambulance Crash

Plane received jet fuel instead of aviation fuel.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Wake County EMS PAT

Physical ability test demonstration.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

CO Leak at Illinois School

Girard incident sends over 130 to hospitals.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On September 2014

Who gets thumbs up this month?
More >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC Sept. 11 Anniversary

View images from the ceremony at Ground Zero.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >