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Department Of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 14, 2007)

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Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.

Mr. Chairman, at the outset let me commend Chairman Price and Ranking Member Rogers for the outstanding job, I believe, and the effort they put into putting this legislation together. And I commend them on an issue which is so vital to our Nation, homeland security.

My amendment would restore $40 million to the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, DNDO, specifically relating to the Securing the Cities Initiative and the Radiation Portal Monitor program.

Mr. McCaul, as the cosponsor of the amendment, will address himself in a few moments to the Radiation Portal Monitor program. I'm going to stress the STC.

Mr. Chairman, intelligence and recent terrorist attacks overseas have led to the conclusion that the next attack against our cities may very well come from outside the city, from suburban areas. And certainly, in New York City, it's been concluded that the STC is the only program which is dedicated to protecting cities against this threat.

Specifically, the STC program involves a ring of radiological detectors on highways, bridges, tunnels and waterways leading into cities. Indeed, the police commissioner of New York, Commissioner Kelly, has said that this program is our best last defense to keep a nuclear or dirty bomb from being detonated within cities.

So this should be a bipartisan matter. While it directly affects New York at this moment, this is a pilot program which will affect the entire Nation.

There's already been two full exercises run. I was present at one of them last week, seeing how effective it was. It involves 90 counties, three States, numerous cities and many agencies. And it, to me, serves no purpose at all to be taking, in effect, $20 million out of a valuable program, a program which very well could end up saving thousands and thousands of lives. And I say that as someone who came from a district that lost well over 100 people on September 11 and certainly doesn't want to go through that again.

This is a very effective, meaningful program, and I would, again, implore the House to restore this money, $40 million, to the DNDO.

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Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I yield to the gentleman from New York.

Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman stated that no agreement has been reached and would not be reached until the summer of 2007. We are talking about several weeks from now. The summer of 2007 is coming upon us. And also as far as the agreement's being reached, I have a letter which I would like to introduce into the Record, signed by officials from New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut, all of whom say all that is delaying the agreement is the finalizing of this appropriation. They are ready to go. They have an agreement in place ready to go, just subject to this appropriation.

Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, this agreement is not now in place; is that right?

Mr. KING of New York. But it will be. Again, this is a letter signed by all the ranking officials in New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut. All that is holding it up is this appropriation. Once the amount is known, they will go ahead. But other than that, they cannot go ahead.

Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman is saying that the present appropriation, the money in the pipeline, is not sufficient, that their ability to pull their plan together depends on whether your amendment passes.

Mr. KING of New York. Yes, that is true.

Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. That is a strange way to plan.

Mr. KING of New York. It was done in concert with DNDO and with the three States.

Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, at this time I would like to yield the balance of my time to my colleague Mr. Israel.

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Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. I would be happy to yield 30 seconds for a response.

Mr. KING of New York. Yes. I will absolutely assure him that I will work with the city of New York and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that this money is allocated and used for this purpose and that the agreement be expedited as quickly as possible.

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Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Let me again at the outset commend the gentleman from North Carolina for his good faith and effort. We have an honest disagreement on this, but I certainly commend him for the time and concern he has shown on this issue, and I certainly appreciate his offer to work with me.

I would just ask to introduce into the Record this letter from virtually every law enforcement official from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, State police, local police, fire commissioners in New York City, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County, and all of the State officials of New Jersey and Connecticut.

I urge the adoption of the amendment.

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