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Public Statements

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CLEAVER. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Missouri is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. CLEAVER. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of striking language that would limit UASI funds to the top 10 cities at risk.

Since 2003, Missouri-05, my district, has received over $70 million in UASI funding. Recently, I was informed by DHS that due to the fiscal year 2011 budget cuts, which I did not support, half of the cities that received UASI funding, including Kansas City, Missouri, would lose their funding. This means that Kansas City will not be receiving the funding that we have relied on for the last 7 years.

Limiting FY12 UASI funding to the top 10 cities would, again, detrimentally harm my district. UASI funding in Kansas City has been used for equipment and vehicles to support six rescue teams in four area fire departments. Vehicles and equipment have also been used to support special tactical law enforcement teams, allowing for the response to events where chemicals or special hazards are present as well as a regional multi-band emergency radio that allows for interoperability.

Funding has been used for a regional patient tracking system that enables hospitals and EMS agencies to manage multiple victims from an emergency event. The funding also allows for special mobile units that allow local public health agencies to transport equipment and set up medicine dispensing sites.

Yesterday, The Kansas City Star ran an op-ed I wrote decrying the devastating impact the loss of UASI funds will have not only on Kansas City but the entire State of Missouri. Kansas City has relied on these funds to prevent, protect, and respond to both manmade and natural disasters. Eliminating these funds would greatly hinder the region's ability to continue to enhance these preparedness capabilities. Just 2 weeks ago, three UASI-funded search and rescue vehicles were sent from my community, Kansas City, Missouri, to Joplin, Missouri, to search for survivors after the devastating tornado. Sadly, to date, as of this morning, 134 Missourians have lost their lives to this devastating disaster. However, due to the hard work of Missouri first responders, 144 missing individuals were located. We put the safety and security of our constituents in the hands of first responders, and it would be unconscionable for us to take away the tools they need to continue to save lives.

As the Representative of the Missouri Fifth District, it is my job to work to protect the citizens of my district, and it is my goal to ensure that first responders in Kansas City are given the resources they need to keep our homes secure. As I have said many times, the U.S. budget is a moral document, a bold testimony to our national priorities. It is my priority to fight to provide UASI funding to the Kansas City area. This is why I stand in support of UASI funds and the amendment to restore this funding to more than the top 10 cities that has been offered by the gentleman from New York (Mr. Higgins).

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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