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Improving America's Security Act of 2007--Continued

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


IMPROVING AMERICA'S SECURITY ACT OF 2007 -- (Senate - March 13, 2007)

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Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the amendment offered by my good friend from Oklahoma that would sunset the provisions of this bill after 5 years.

In general, I think this is a very good bill. But I have serious reservations about the method by which this bill allocates State homeland security grants.

Last week, I came to the floor to offer an amendment to make this funding allocation more based on risk. My amendment was an attempt to meet the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that ``[h]omeland security assistance should be based strictly on an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities [and] federal homeland security assistance should not remain a program for general revenue sharing.''

That is why my amendment sought to send the most dollars to those areas at the greatest risk of an attack. As compared to the funding formula in the underlying bill, my amendment would have better protected our borders, our ports, our railroads, our subways, our chemical plants, our nuclear power plants, our food supply, and our firefighters, police officers and EMTs.

Unfortunately, my amendment was defeated, as was a similar amendment offered by Senators FEINSTEIN and CORNYN. I think this was an unfortunate mistake by the Senate, and I am hopeful that this mistake will be corrected in conference.

If the funding formula is not fixed, however, I believe it is perfectly appropriate for us to reexamine this issue 5 years from now to ensure that the allocation of homeland security funding provides the necessary resources to communities most at risk.

For this reason, I will support the amendment offered by my colleague from Oklahoma.

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