Today, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement on news of a House-Senate agreement to extend the payroll tax cuts:
"I am pleased that this agreement reallocates the D Block to public safety and ensures sufficient spectrum for the development of a national interoperable public safety wireless broadband network. This reallocation of the D Block is what first responders and I have long advocated for and would fulfill one of the final, still unfulfilled recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
"Additionally, I am pleased that the legislation includes necessary funding for the construction and maintenance of the network and ensures the input of Federal, State, and local leaders.
"These important public safety provisions will be of tremendous assistance to our nation's first responders as they carry out their critical mission of protecting and saving lives here in the homeland.
"I give great credit to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, and Conference Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Vice Chairman Max Baucus for this important achievement."
***Note: Chairman King has been a longtime advocate for reallocating the D Block for public safety. Last year, he, along with Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and five other original co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 607 and convened a Homeland Security Committee hearing to examine this critical issue. The bipartisan legislation, which now has 34 co-sponsors, has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Reallocation of the D Block for public safety is supported by President Obama, the co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, both Republicans and Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee, and virtually every public safety group and the seven largest governance groups in the country, including the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the National Emergency Management Association, the National Sheriffs' Association, the Major County Sheriffs' Association, the National Troopers Coalition, and the National Criminal Justice Association.