WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer released the following statement today in support of the Rep. Dave Obey (D-WI) amendment that would have added roughly $1 billion to the Fiscal Year 2004 Homeland Security Appropriations bill for key security vulnerabilities by slightly decreasing the amount the tax cut people making over $1 million a year would receive. The 200,000 people with incomes over $1 million would have their 2004 tax cut reduced from $88,326 to $83,326. The FY04 Homeland Security bill is expected to pass the House today.
“Today, we see precisely where the Republican Party stands when it comes to making crucial investments in homeland security and providing tax cuts to the most affluent citizens in this nation.
“The Obey amendment is straightforward, it is clear, and it frames the trade-offs that this Republican Majority refuses to make – and would like to ignore.
“Quite simply, the question this important amendment poses to Members of this House is this: Are you willing – or are you not – to reduce the average tax cut for the 200,000 people making more than $1 million a year from $88,326 to $83,326 in 2004 so that we may invest those funds – $1 billion – to correct known homeland security deficiencies and better secure our ports, airports, borders and other critical infrastructure?
“Yes or no? That is all we ask. Isn’t an average tax cut of $83,326 for America’s millionaires enough, when their small loss is every other citizen’s gain?
“The Homeland Security Department’s threat warning is on yellow today. But, as the Council on Foreign Relations warned last October, the United States is still ‘dangerously unprepared to prevent and respond to a catastrophic terrorist attack on U.S. soil.’ The failure to address our vulnerabilities today – for a mere fraction of the Republican tax cut – is nothing short of a dereliction of duty.
“Here is what Democrats would do with this $1 billion. We would provide an additional $400 million above the $100 billion included in the bill for port security grants. We would provide $100 million to help the Coast Guard implement the Maritime Transportation Security Act. We would provide $100 million to increase the number of Customs Inspectors who inspect containers entering the United States. We would provide an additional $200 million to improve our Northern Border Security; $150 million for Aviation Security Improvements; and an increase of $50 million for the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Program.”