Lieberman Proposes $3.4 Billion More than Administration for FY 2008 Homeland Budget

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., noting serious vulnerabilities in the nation’s homeland security defenses, proposed spending an additional $3.4 billion above the president’s $46.4 billion Homeland Security Department request for FY 2008 – mostly for first responders.

In a letter to Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-S.D., and Ranking Member Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Lieberman said the administration’s budget “once again fails to properly fund many of the nation’s most pressing homeland security priorities.”
The president’s budget proposal represents an increase equal to the rate of inflation, Lieberman said, rather than the substantial funding increases that are needed.

“This is the fourth straight year that the administration has proposed significant reductions in homeland security funds for first responders,” Lieberman said. “If the president’s budget were enacted, overall grant funding would be cut by a staggering 40 percent since FY 2004 – seriously limiting the ability of state and local officials to protect their communities against the ever-present threats of terrorism and natural disasters.”

Lieberman also criticized the administration for erroneously relying on a $1 billion grant program for interoperable communications to offset steep reductions in the budget request. Those funds were appropriated for FY2007 for targeted purposes and were not intended to replace overall grant assistance, he said.

“I am asking for a $3.4 billion increase over the president’s request to allow the department to restore significant cuts made to first responders and to address key vulnerabilities in our seaports, chemical plants, rail and transit systems and air cargo systems,” Lieberman said.

Among Lieberman’s requested increases are:

  • $663 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program
  • $479 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative
  • $713 million for Emergency Management Preparedness Grants
  • $400 million for interoperable communications grants for first responders
  • $225 million for rail and transit security grants
  • $25 million for TSA’s air cargo screening program
  • $25 million for chemical security
  • $477 million for firefighters


Overall, Lieberman proposes spending:

  • $913 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program
  • $1.2 billion for the Urban Area Security Initiative
  • $913 million for emergency preparedness grants
  • $400 million for interoperable communications grants for first responders
  • $400 million for rail and transit security grants
  • $80 million for TSA’s air cargo screening program
  • $50 million for chemical security
  • $777 million for firefighters
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