Funding Our First Responders

Uploaded by SenateDemocrats on 09.07.2009


Since 2003, when the Department of Homeland Security was created,
I've had the honor of working with my colleagues here
in the Senate to try to strengthen the Department's ability
to carry out its many national security functions.
I'm very pleased in that regard to say this year's appropriations
Homeland Security Bill provides 42.9 billion dollars
in funding for the Department,
which is a 7% increase, and that is significant.
As part of that, and we want to highlight this,
is the support we are giving to our
first responders around the country:
our firefighters, law enforcement officers,
and emergency medical personnel.
The bill is an important bill, as Senator Lieberman said,
would increase spending on Homeland Security by 7% over last year.
And President Obama stepped up to the concerns that
the American people have and made sure that we had
more funding than we previously had,
because the Bush administration said it supported our firefighters,
but it didn't give them the tools that they needed
to protect our communities.
Our spending bill cuts through this rhetoric,
provides real money where it is needed.
This bill would double funding, for instance,
for the SAFER grant program that helps local fire departments
defray the cost of hiring new firefighters.
SAFER funding goes from 210 million dollars for fiscal year 2009,
this fiscal year, to 420 million for fiscal year 2010.
That's a lot more firefighter personnel protection
around the country next year, and it's really great news.
Truth is not only are we committed to keeping our country safe,
but we're committed to the brave men and women who keep us safe.
We want for them to be able to protect themselves
as well as they can when they respond to their duty.
I'm here to represent all firefighters, all fire chiefs,
and all police chiefs across this nation
to say this funding is absolutely needed.
With the equipment, the manpower levels,
and the training that we're receiving
through the Fire and SAFER grants,
I can tell everyone here right now, it's paying off, it's paying off well.
This specific funding is imperative for us
to be able to defend our homeland, whether it's a fire emergency,
a medical emergency, whether it's preparing,
preventing or recovering from.
So again, I truly applaud your leadership.
We thank you for the opportunity to be here,
and we're proud to stand next to both of you.