(202) 225 - 3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following statement on the House floor in favor of the Democratic Substitute on the Homeland Security Authorization Bill:
“Mr. Speaker, despite the expenditure of billions of dollars on homeland security since September 11, the reality is that America’s ports, chemical facilities, transportation systems and critical infrastructure are still vulnerable to attack.
“As Stephen Flynn, the former U.S. Coast Guard Commander and a foremost expert on homeland security, stated a few months ago on Meet the Press:
“The measures we have been cobbling together are hardly fit to deter amateur thieves, vandals and hackers, never mind determined terrorists.”
“This Congress can – and must – do more to protect our citizens from attack at home, even as we take the fight to our enemies abroad. That is what this Democratic Substitute aims to do.
“It provides $6.9 billion more than the Republican bill, including funding to fulfill our homeland security commitments in the intelligence reform act. It includes $1 billion for grants for port, rail, transit and bus security; $380 million to hire 2,000 new border agents; and $500 million to ensure that first responders can communicate. And it requires a plan to ensure that all air cargo on passenger planes is screened, giving sufficient time to develop the requisite technologies, and it sets deadlines for establishing security plans for critical infrastructures.
“Now, Republicans will object to the funding level in our substitute. But let’s put it in perspective: This additional funding is nearly $2 billion less than the funding the Bush Administration has failed to account for – some $8.8 billion – in Iraq.
“Mr. Speaker, if the Bush Administration can lose track of nearly $9 billion in Iraq, I submit that we ought to be able to find $6.9 billion to make this nation and its people more secure. Vote for the Democratic Substitute.”