Smarter First Responder Spending Needed Says Report
Asserting that “homeland security should be about wise choices, not just increased spending,” the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has released a new report stressing the need for threat-based first responder funding.
The AEI report, written by Veronique de Rugy, asserts that while the administration has increased funding for terrorism preparedness grant programs by more than 2000% since FY2001, this money is often distributed and spent in a wasteful and inefficient manner.
By doling out current federal dollars based on population and parity, the report contends that the current first responder funding formula shortchanges those areas most at risk. For example, of the top 10 states and districts receiving homeland security grants per capita, only the District of Columbia appears on a list of the 10 most-at-risk places.
“AEI’s analysis reaffirms what this Committee and the first responder community have been saying for the past two years–the status quo simply does not serve our homeland security needs,” said Chairman Christopher Cox (R-CA). “Pork barrel spending may appease political constituencies, but only threat-based funding will help first responders secure our communities.”
Many of the report’s recommendations are incorporated in the Cox-Turner Faster and Smarter Funding for First Responders Act, which passed the House as part of the 9-11 reform bill. The report both praises the Cox-Turner bill and urges House-Senate conferees to keep this important legislation in H.R. 10, calling it “an important step in the right direction and a serious improvement of how we are spending homeland security funds.”
“The AEI report further underscores the need for a permanent Homeland Security Committee and strong congressional oversight over the first responder grant process. This Committee has been a leader on first responder funding issues since day one and will continue to work to ensure that first responders get the funding they need to keep America safe and secure,” concluded Chairman Cox.