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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. LOWEY. I would like to thank Chairman Aderholt and Ranking Member Price for their bipartisan work on this legislation.

The fiscal year 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill would make smart investments in our national security infrastructure, including increasing funds for cybersecurity, focusing homeland security dollars at communities most at threat of terrorist attacks, and providing our first responders with the resources to protect us.

With limited resources, we must prioritize assistance to the regions most likely to be attacked. That is why I am so pleased that this bill takes a step toward restoring the original intent of the Urban Area Security Initiative by focusing resources on the 25 most at-risk cities while still providing funding for other regions through other programs.

Ten years after 9/11, the threat of radiological attack and New York's status as the number one terror target remain. That is why I am so pleased that this bill would maintain $22 million to support Securing the Cities, which seeks to prevent the smuggling of illicit nuclear material into Manhattan.

I am also pleased that Assistance to Firefighter and SAFER grants would be adequately funded. As local governments have faced difficult budget decisions, firefighters have been laid off, leaving our neighborhoods with inadequate protection. This legislation would fund firefighter hiring grants and would extend the SAFER waiver to allow communities to retain or rehire laid-off firefighters.

I am extremely disappointed, however, that Republicans needlessly injected divisive social issues into the bill. I've served on this subcommittee or on the authorizing committee for nearly a decade. In that time, I've met with the first responders, ICE agents, Border Patrol, and many other security personnel. Not once have they said that women's reproductive health makes our country less secure--not once. Weighing down this bill with ideological riders is a disservice to all first responders.

In closing, again, I would like to thank the committee for its investments in homeland security and first responders, and I hope that this legislation will not be used as a vehicle for ideological policy riders on the floor.


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