Homeland Security Funding and Protecting New York
Since 9/11, Congresswoman Maloney has led a number of efforts in Congress to direct a greater share of homeland security funding to the communities under threat, which too often are shortchanged. Congresswoman Maloney continues to strongly support the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission that homeland security should be based strictly on an assessment of risk and vulnerability, and that New York City and Washington, D.C. should be at the top of any such list.
New Yorkers know firsthand how heroes on the front lines of homeland security risked their own lives to save thousands of others on 9/11. If terrorists strike our country again, Americans will call their local firefighters and police, not the Department of Homeland Security. This makes it imperative that our front-line homeland security workers have everything they need to defend against, prepare for, and protect us from future terrorist attacks.
The first major effort of the Homeland Security Task Force, which Congresswoman Maloney chaired in the 108th Congress, was to assess preparedness at the ground level - are they getting everything they need from the federal government to be prepared for terrorist attacks?
In June 2004 Congresswoman Maloney convened a task force hearing in Washington that included firefighters, police officers, local officials, and emergency management coordinators from across our country. Their first-hand accounts were a wake-up call to many who had yet to hear about serious security deficiencies directly from those working to protect America. Some said federal funding assistance was inadequate. Others said providing adequate security has caused local governments to shift resources away from other areas, such as education. The witnesses were nearly unanimous in their belief that the federal government can do much more for hometown security.
Congresswoman Maloney followed the hearing with a survey to a broader sample of emergency responders and local officials. She also coordinated with her colleagues in distributing the survey in our hometowns and compiled a national report that was released in the fall. The results clearly showed that the federal government must change its approach toward local homeland security assistance. A mere 16% of respondents said the federal government is doing all it can, 56% said that communication and coordination with the federal government is adequate, while 87% said they did not have adequate funding for homeland security needs.
The front lines of homeland security are not only in our hometowns - they are also in the skies, at the borders, and in the ports. One group that gained much publicity for its resurgence after 9/11 but which faced bureaucratic hardship with the potential to affect job performance is the Federal Air Marshals (FAM). We saw reports that the Transportation Security Administration planned to remove air marshals from a number of high-threat flights to save on hotel costs.
Congresswoman Maloney immediately criticized the move and the decision was reversed in the midst of a firestorm of criticism. She also requested a congressional investigation from the House Select Committee on Homeland Security into how the decision was made, and wrote to former Secretary Tom Ridge out of concern that FAM training cutbacks were still in the works.
After this episode, the FAM service went on a witch hunt within its own ranks to determine the source of the news stories about air marshals being removed from flights. Congresswoman Maloney defended the patriotic air marshals who brought TSA's dangerous decision to cut back on air marshals and requested investigations by the Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees. Additionally, FAM officials chose to allow NBC News to observe and broadcast the air marshals' procedures boarding and protecting airliners. Air marshals and the association that represents many of them fear that allowing such sensitive information to be made public compromises airline security. Congresswoman Maloney shared those fears, and requested a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General investigation into the decision-making process among FAM officials that led to stories such as the NBC News reports.
More on Homeland Security Funding and Protecting New York
NEW YORK – In response to terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement:
“Today, all New Yorkers and all Americans stand in solidarity with and offer our deepest sympathies to the Belgian people as they face the horrors of this morning’s terror attacks. These acts of pure evil cannot and will not be tolerated by the United States and the broader international community.
WASHINGTON— Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) is pushing her colleagues to fully fund the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) program, despite calls from the Obama administration to slash the program by nearly half. The initiative provided $587 million for anti-terrorism efforts last year, including $180,926,000 for the New York City area. Today Maloney sent a letter to the House Appropriators stressing the need for full UASI funding.