The tragic events of September 11, 2001, forced everyone to take a hard look at what the government does to keep America's communities safe. Almost a decade later, the urgency remains for our government to take every step necessary to protect our borders and safeguard our critical infrastructure. As a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), Claire has been working to enact polices and programs that strengthen national security, give public safety agencies the resources they need and help communities to be prepared in the face of a threat.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Prevention and Preparedness:
Claire was a strong supporter of The Improving America's Security Act (S.4), signed into law in 2007, that implemented most of the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission Report. The legislation gives first responders the tools they need to keep their cities and towns safe; makes it more difficult for potential terrorists to travel in our country; advances efforts to secure our rail, air and mass transit systems; and improves intelligence and information sharing at all levels of state, local and federal government.
Continuing these efforts, Claire has co-sponsored the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2009 (S.1649), which provides a framework for preventing and preparing for biological and other WMD attacks. This comprehensive legislation helps secure the country from a wide range of threats, while strengthening security measures at labs working with the most dangerous pathogens. Claire won passage of an amendment to this legislation giving the Secretary of Homeland Security the ability to suspend the authority of any lab conducting research of Tier 1 biological agents -- those that are most dangerous if they were to be used in a weapon -- if the lab does not meet federal security standards. Claire believes we simply cannot be complacent when it comes to protecting America from WMDs.
Supporting our First Responders:
The deaths of 366 firefighters and police officers in New York's Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, highlighted and exposed a real technology gap and lack of communication infrastructure in the law enforcement community. The Improving America's Security Act (S.4) took significant steps to address this critical shortcoming in our nation's security by authorizing $3.3 billion in grants to improve interoperable communications between local, regional, state and federal agencies. Today, Claire remains committed to assisting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in its efforts to improve information sharing among the DHS and America's first responders, including firefighters, police officers and paramedics.
However, Claire believes more should be done to give law enforcement the right resources to fight terrorism and other daily crime. She is a co-sponsor of legislation to reauthorize the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program that has provided grants to cities and towns since 1994 to hire needed police officers, modernize their equipment and reduce crime. As a former prosecutor, she also supports the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant Program, which provides grants to target the supply and demand of illegal drugs and plays a major role in Missouri's regional drug task forces. Further, while both programs are effective tools to reduce crime, Claire believes Missouri has missed out on recent grant opportunities as a result of heavy earmarking in these programs that has carved money out of these important programs for politicians' pet projects. As part of her fight against earmarks in the appropriations process, Claire is committed to restoring all of the funding for these critical grant programs to the competitive grant process, thereby enabling Missouri law enforcement to have more resources to compete for and win.
Securing Our Communities:
Claire remains committed to boosting citizen and community engagement in disaster planning. Continuing her support to better prepare our communities in the face of a threat, the WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2009 (S.1649) authorizes funding for state, local, and tribal preparedness grants -- from $15 million in fiscal year 2010 to $40 million in fiscal year 2015.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Citizen Corps also brings together government and community leaders to protect our neighborhoods from threats of crime, terrorism and disasters of all kinds