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Newsday - Federal Budget Cuts Homeland Security Grant

News Article

Location: Washington, DC

A key homeland security grant relied upon by New York City and Long Island was cut nearly 20 percent in Friday's deal to keep government open while slashing $38.5 billion in this year's spending, Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Tuesday.

The Urban Area Security Grant, which funds police and other anti-terrorism activities in the country's highest risk cities, was slashed to $725 million, which represents a $162 million cut from its 2010 level of $887 million, King said.

"It's certainly not ideal," said King, who called the overall reductions in spending for the Department of Homeland Security both "good and bad."

The good, King said, was that the Securing the Cities program, which helps fund equipment and efforts to prevent a "dirty bomb" or radiation attack, had been fully funded at $20 million in the deal, meaning about $18.5 million would go to New York City.

Those were among the earliest identified impacts on the Long Island area from the reductions in this year's spending as lawmakers sifted through the details, which were posted late Monday night.

House Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) touted the $1.049 trillion compromise bill, which goes through the end of Sept. 30, 2011, as the "largest nondefense spending cut in the history of the United States."

That committee's top Democrat, Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), said the compromise preserved his party's priorities, including the health care reform law, Head Start and Community Services Block Grants.

Congress is set to vote on the spending compromise later this week. It's expected to pass.

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) Tuesday said the deal preserved essential funding for a program that underwrites research at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

He said the Office of Science, which the House GOP had planned to cut what amounted to $1 billion on an annualized basis, is reduced by just $35 million in the deal.

He also said the House GOP cuts to Pell Grants for college tuition were reversed in the final deal, preserving the $5,500 level per student.

"I am still working my way through" the details of Friday's spending deal, Bishop said. "But based on what I know I have a much higher comfort level than I did 72 hours ago."

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