Democrats Discuss Efforts To Make America Safer Through Homeland Security, 9/11 Commission Bills

Washington, DC—Democratic Senators Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Debbie Stabenow and Frank Lautenberg joined International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold A. Schaitberger at a press conference today to discuss the importance of passing the Homeland Security Appropriations bill and sending the President legislation to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Both measures will make America safer by strengthening our nation’s highest-priority security projects, fighting terrorism and funding our first responders.  

Democrats also strongly urged Congressional Republicans to allow both of these measures to go through unobstructed, and called on the President to sign the Homeland Security legislation rather than threatening to veto our efforts to make America more secure.

“Just as Democrats are fighting to give our soldiers the resources and strategy they need to successfully complete their missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are making Americans more secure at home by funding homeland security priorities and finally implementing the 9/11 Commission recommendations,” Reid said.  “Last week’s National Intelligence Estimate and a worldwide increase in terrorist attacks have underscored the importance of overhauling our counterterrorism strategy, and we hope the President and Republican leadership will join us in doing just that.”

Said Schumer: “Real homeland security requires resources, not rhetoric, and it is past time to provide our local communities with the funding and equipment needed to protect the American people.  The battle against terrorism begins at home, and Democrats will make sure our brave first responders do not become the forgotten soldiers in this fight.”

“Fighting terrorism means staying vigilant here at home,” Stabenow said. “Our first responders are our first line of defense, so we must make sure that they have the tools they need to keep us safe. From local firefighter and police grants for new equipment to making sure that first responders have interoperable radios that can talk to each other in an emergency, Democrats are dedicated to getting it right when it comes to homeland security.”

Said Lautenberg: “Our homeland security is built on the effectiveness of our first responders.  Instead of trying to help first responders prepare for a catastrophe or a terrorist attack, President Bush wants to drastically cut homeland security funding. Without proper training, equipment and resources for our firefighters, police officers and paramedics, our communities will be left vulnerable. President Bush shouldn’t prevent first responders from getting the tools they need.”

“The nation deserves action from Congress to protect the security of our Homeland,” Schaitberger said. “Our firefighters and first responders need resources to do their jobs and they need them now. I’m happy to see the Democratic leadership has shown a real commitment to them and to our country, and hope the President will not stand in the way of these important priorities for America.”