Mr. MEADOWS. Mr. Speaker, the recent school massacres at Newtown, Connecticut, sent shock waves across our country. And as a father, I grieved with the families that lost loved ones on that day, but as a legislator, I vowed that I would take action to prevent future tragedies.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 53 percent of Americans believe that increasing police presence at schools would be very effective in preventing future tragedies. After speaking with local law enforcement, superintendents, and principals in my district, I believe it is the best path forward. That is why I will be introducing the Protect America's Schools Act today.
This legislation would revitalize the Cops in Schools grant program, which has not been funded since fiscal year 2005, and fund it at $30 million annually. The CIS program is specifically designed to assist local law enforcement agencies in the hiring of new officers.
And with a $16.4 trillion debt, we must take action, but we must be fiscally responsible. The $30 million to pay for this critical grant program would be offset by taking the unspent funds from the operations budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Protect America's Schools Act is not the only answer, but it is a critical step forward to protect our Nation's children. Keeping our children safe is not only an area where both political parties can find common ground, but as lawmakers, we have a moral obligation to make sure that we do just that.