Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement regarding H.R. 2055, the FY 2012 Omnibus Appropriations Bill:
"As a Member of the Homeland Security Committee and a resident of New York City, I cannot in good conscience support a bill that will ultimately negatively affect our first responders. The omnibus bill would cut $2 billion from the Department of Homeland Security, including cuts in the Federal Emergency Management Agency and first-responder grant funding. Therefore, I voted against the Conference Report on H.R. 2055, the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.
"Last year, $3.38 billion was provided to communities across the country under FEMA's grant programs:
· The State Homeland Security Grant Program;
· Urban Area Security Initiative;
· Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program;
· Metropolitan Medical Response System;
· Port Security Grant Program;
· Transit Security Grant Program;
· Emergency Operations Centers;
· Operation Stonegarden; and
· Citizen Corps Program.
"This year, under this bill, just $1.35 billion is designated for all these grant programs. That is woefully inadequate. These cuts will make it harder for our local first responders to protect our communities.
"I am pleased that there are increases from what was originally proposed by the GOP led Congress in this final bill for many programs like job training, Title I funding, Head Start, funding for the National Institutes of Health, health professions and nursing training. However, the bill does not include enough money for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which was funded $2 billion less than last year.
"As this year comes to an end and we enter 2012, I call on all my colleagues, especially my friends on the other side of the isle to work together to adequately fund programs that support our first responders, properly invest in the education of our children, protect the health of our families and strengthening our economy."