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Issue Position: Homeland Security

Issue Position

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Rep. Holt has worked to ensure that New Jersey law enforcement and first responders have the tools and resources to do their jobs.

"From law enforcement training to equipment upgrades, there are many ways in which the federal government can assist those on our front lines" -- Rush Holt

Providing for America's common defense is a Constitutional duty that Rush Holt fulfills every day through his work on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as chairman of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. In Congress, Rep. Holt has helped ensure that those working to keep America safe - American servicemen and women and local first responders - have the tools and resources to fulfill these critical tasks.

In This Section:

* Implementation of 9/11 Commission Recommendations
* Rail Security
* Supporting Fort Monmouth
* Providing Troops with Necessary Tools
* First Responders
* Preventing Bioterrorism

Implementation of 9/11 Commission Recommendations

One of the first acts of the new, Democratic majority in the 110th Congress was to enact all the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission. With Rep. Holt's support, Congress passed legislation to increase risk-based homeland security funding, help first responders attain interoperable equipment, strengthen non-proliferation efforts, and ensure that 100 percent of air and sea cargo be screened before entering the country.

Congress also acted on the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that Congress improve its oversight of the intelligence community. The Speaker of the House selected Rep. Holt to chair a new Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. In this position, Holt has worked to strengthen oversight of the intelligence community by ensuring that policymakers receive accurate assessments, civil liberties are safeguarded, and the intelligence community is protecting Americans.

Rep. Holt joins Rep. David Price (D-NC), NJ & NY Port Authority deputy executive director for operations Ernesto Butch, and NJ Transit Police Chief Joseph Bober at Newark Penn Station to discuss Congressional efforts to increase funding for rail and transit security programs. (Photo credit: NJ Transit)

Rail Security

Rail service is the lifeline of New Jersey's economy -- New Jersey residents rely on the rail system to commute to and from work and to travel on a vacation. Rep. Holt successfully has fought for increased funding for rail security. In the 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations Act, he led a bipartisan effort to secure $400 million for rail and ground transportation security upgrades like fences, closed-circuit cameras, and bomb-sniffing dogs. Rep. Holt is also engaged in oversight actions regarding Amtrak's security force, which has been fragmented and lacked a unified chain of command.

Supporting Fort Monmouth

Located in Rep. Holt's Central New Jersey Fort Monmouth has provided the Army with essential intelligence, surveillance, and communications capabilities.

After the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission recommended, with conditions, the closure of Fort Monmouth, Rep. Holt has worked with members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation to reverse the misguided decision by reexamining the overrun costs and the Fort's importance to the military's communication efforts. Rep. Holt's efforts led to a hearing in the House Armed Services Committee on December 12, 2007 about the skewed nature of the process that lead to the base's closure.

Despite the fact that two consecutive administrations have affirmed the 2005 BRAC round's closure decisions, Rep. Holt continues to work to ensure that the men and women at the Fort receive the funding they need to continue supporting the high-quality communications and intelligence programs that are so important to troops in the field. In the last two budgets, Rep. Holt secured more than $40 million for Fort Monmouth. He also believes that to prepare for a closing, we need to ensure that we meet the employment and other needs of the Fort's employees.

In April, Rep. Holt joined Senators Lautenberg and Menendez and Rep. Frank Pallone to write a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh expressing concerns surrounding the pending closure of Fort Monmouth. They met with him on May 26 to discuss those concerns, inclduing how to ensure that deployed troops get the support they need and how to meet the needs of military retirees and veterans living in New Jersey.

Providing Troops With Necessary Tools

Our troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and deployed elsewhere around the globe face daily threats from small arms fire, improvised explosive device (IEDs), and many other hazards. Rep. Holt has worked to ensure that American troops have the equipment they need to stay safe and complete their mission. Recently, he helped pass the 2008 Defense Appropriations Act, which contained $11.6 billion in emergency funding for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, $947 million for Up-Armored Humvees, and $783 million for the continued procurement and enhancement of personal body armor. He will continue to support efforts to provide American servicemen and women with the tools and resources they need.

First Responders

Representative Holt understands that our nation's first responders serve on the front lines of domestic disasters and therefore must be able to quickly coordinate and take action in any crisis -- be it an Atlantic hurricane or a terrorist attack. As with the military, Rep. Holt continuously has worked to provide those who serve with the essential tools and resources to do their jobs.

Rep.Holt has been a strong supporter of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program and the Justice Assistance Grant Program, two of the federal government's most successful law enforcement support programs.

Rep. Holt also has held grant workshops to help local first responders secure federal funding. As a result, fire departments, like those in Middletown, Monroe, Oceanport, and Rumson, have received federal grant funding. Additionally, Rep. Holt has secured federal funding to help local law enforcement upgrade their equipment. For instance, in 2008, Rep. Holt secured $117,500 for new communications equipment for the first responders of South River.
Fact Sheet: New Jersey Benefitting from the COPS Program

Preventing Bioterrorism

Many New Jersey residents had their lives disrupted by the anthrax attacks of 2001 and have since followed the investigation into the attacks, which evidently originated from a postal box in Princeton Borough. Rep. Holt believes that all people affected by the attacks -- the victims' families, post office employees, local law enforcement, and the general public - deserve to know the truth about what happened, and get closure. Rep. Holt has worked tirelessly to get answers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on its poorly handled investigation. In March 2009, Rep. Holt introduced the Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act, which would create a 9/11 type commission to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks and the federal government's response to and investigation of the attacks. The bipartisan commission also would make recommendations to the President and Congress to both prevent and better the response to future bioterrorism attacks.


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