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Faster and Smarter Funding for First Responders Act

Location: Washington, DC

FASTER AND SMARTER FUNDING FOR FIRST RESPONDERS ACT -- (House of Representatives - May 12, 2005)


Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, given the evacuation yesterday that we had here at the Capitol, it is so appropriate that we are taking this bill up today. We all know that there is always room for improvement in our Nation's security. I want to congratulate the gentleman from California (Chairman Cox) and his committee. They have done a great job in taking on a serious problem in our homeland security funding process.

The Faster and Smarter Funding For First Responders Act recognizes that, while we are sending significant funding out to the States for emergency preparedness, that funding and support is not always used in a timely fashion. In Tennessee, my home State, we found that between 2002 and 2004, there was nearly $85 million in Federal homeland security funds that had been unspent and not allocated.

And there is a problem when states like mine have the Federal funds but are not disbursing them as quickly as is needed by our local communities. We have appropriated Homeland Security dollars to the States in order to ensure that funding is flexible and can be targeted to the specific needs of our local communities, and we need to work to be sure that those funds are being used appropriately.

Mr. Chairman, this bill really clarifies the appropriate uses for Federal Homeland Security grants and evaluates and annually prioritizes pending grant applications, and it is great that our local communities and our States are going to have the support they need in the communities, the guidance that they need to appropriately use the funds and put it to work, put it to good use in our communities.


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