Jun 24, 2003
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY), Chair of the Task Force on Homeland Security for the Democratic Caucus, introduced an amendment to the 2004 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill today, in an effort to restore antiterrorism funding to America's high-threat cities.Maloney said, "It's wrong to strip these funds when Tom Ridge is urging an increase to protect high-threat cities and especially since we just learned of a terrorist plan to attack the Brooklyn Bridge. It just doesn't make sense."

Maloney's amendment would increase 2004 funding for first responder grants to high-threat urban areas from the $500 million currently proposed, to the prior year's level (FY2003) of $800 million. The funds would be distributed to high-threat cities for purposes such as: port security, mass transit security, radiological defense systems, and technical assistance with communications, training, and implementation of new security systems.

Under the current bill, New York's share of the 2004 high-threat funds would be $125 million, versus $175 million this year, representing a 29% reduction. Over this past year, New York City has spent more than $200 million on counter-terrorism and intelligence, none of which has been reimbursed by Homeland Security funds.

In her statement to the House, Maloney pointed out that American cities remain terrorist targets, and that New York specifically continues to be targeted, as evidenced by last week's exposure of an Al Quaeda plot to attack the Brooklyn Bridge. "[Al Quaeda] chooses targets to inflict the greatest number of casualties, to do the greatest damage economically, and to get the most publicity," Maloney said in delivering her statement.

Maloney noted the decreasing portion of Homeland Security funds going to high-threat regions: In 2003, 70% of such funds were distributed without consideration of factors such as population density, infrastructure, and intelligence that indicates actual threats to specific cities. In the proposed 2004 budget, that proportion increases to nearly 83%. Maloney also cited Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's view that greater funding should be restored to high-threat regions, saying, "my amendment will simply follow Secretary Ridge's advice and restore funding for high-threat cities." Maloney's amendment was not allowed for a vote by the House Republican leadership.