HOUSE PASSES BERKLEY-BACKED AMENDMENT TO INCREASE HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDING FOR LAS VEGAS
Recognizing the need to increase resources for homeland security in southern Nevada, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) Tuesday voted in favor of an amendment that will boost funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant program, which includes the Las Vegas Valley.
"The federal dollars provided under this grant program will help to safeguard Valley families and the more than 30 million visitors who flock to Las Vegas each year from around the globe," said Berkley, who fought last year to ensure that Las Vegas was eligible for UASI grant funding after the Bush administration mistakenly removed southern Nevada from the list of urban areas included in the program.
"Unlike many other communities, southern Nevada's first responders are responsible for the safety of local residents and huge numbers of tourists. Our popularity as a global destination presents unique challenges for our first responders and requires that we provide additional resources to help them get the job done. As a community, we stand to see an increase in homeland security dollars as a result of this amendment and I am pleased that my colleagues joined me in adding more resources for this critical public safety program."
The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) is designed to help enhance overall homeland security in southern Nevada and other urban areas nationwide and to ensure they are prepared to respond or recover from acts of terrorism. The program provided $7.75 million for homeland security efforts in southern Nevada last year.
"Increased investment in the UASI program will mean that first responders in the nation's highest-threat areas, including Las Vegas, will have more of the critical funding they need to keep our country safe and secure," said Berkley.
The Berkley-backed provision, which is included in this year's homeland security funding package, increases the amount available for UASI grants from $800 million to $850 million. The additional $50 million will be used to aid local law enforcement in its on-going effort to protect against and prepare for any terrorist attack. The amount represents an $80 million increase over last year's funding level.