"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Democrats Play Politics With Homeland Security Funding

After the terrorist bombings in London on July 7 Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ) demanded more federal funds for transit security. At the time we noted about half of the $8.6 billion Congress provided states in homeland security grants has gone unspent and $570 million in funds allocated for New York City’s transit security for has gone unused.

New Jersey has allocated $382.3 million for homeland security efforts since January 2002 and the state’s newly enacted budget will provide $192 million for homeland security this year. Acting Governor Codey has assured the public the money has been well spent:

“New Jersey has used its share of federal homeland security funding on programs throughout New Jersey to train and equip first responders, secure our infrastructure, and keep our communities and residents as safe as possible.”
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R) recently asked New Jersey’s Attorney General Peter Harvey for a "full and detailed accounting" of how New Jersey is spending $300 million in federal homeland security funds it has received since 2002. Frelinghuysen also asked why a federal audit in April found New Jersey had yet to spend $224 million of U.S. Department of Homeland Security money earmarked for the state.

The huge amount of homeland security funds remaining unspent by the nation and the State of New Jersey didn’t stop Congressman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) from joining Corzine and Schumer in demanding more funds for transit security. Menendez blames Republicans for not being appropriately concerned with security in the United States and transit security in particular, because more federal funds have not been included in the federal budget. Yet, New Jersey has not used 75 percent of the homeland security funds already granted by the federal government.

Do the Corzine, Schumer and Menendez’s demands for more funds make any sense in light of the facts? No. But improving security is not their goal. This trio and others of their ilk are setting the stage for the day when there is some form of attack on U.S. mass transit. These demagogues will then say "I told you so" and blame the usual suspects for not protecting the country - the administration and the Republicans cared more about tax cuts for the wealthy than protecting the American people. The misguided war in Iraq distracted the country from the real problem and.. And on it will go.

Never mind federal funds were provided, never mind it’s impossible to provide total security on every bus, subway and train car – the attack occurred and the “evil” President Bush, “greedy” Republicans and conservatives in general are to be blamed.

Israel, a small country that devotes great attention and resources to transit security, still suffers attacks from people willing to kill and maim themselves and others. Menendez, Schumer and Corzine understand the facts of life, their press releases and bluster are all about scoring political points and have nothing to do with solving problems.

No matter, Democrat politicians and some in the blogosphere continue to falsely accuse President Bush and the Republican controlled congress for allocating homeland security funds in a partisan fashion rather than based upon risk. Yet, the genesis of the “all-state minimum” funding formula is rarely, if ever discussed.

The President and the Republican leaders in Congress proposed a funding formula based upon risk. The Democrats on the other hand, led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), obstructed passage of the homeland security bill until the funding formula was changed to one that would spread funding around to all states, regardless of risk. Leahy even touts his idiotic funding formula on his website: Bush Signs Homeland Security Funding Bill; Under Leahy’s ‘All-State Minimum’ Formula.

Leahy’s all-state minimum formula aside, the “blue states” are being punished meme continues to make the rounds. This in spite of the fact New York City, in a very "blue" state, secured a 344 percent increase in homeland security funding. Washington D.C. and Los Angeles received double the amounts of their previous grants and Chicago and Boston received about a third more in homeland security funding. All “blue” cities in "blue" states, all represented by Democrats in the Senate and all receiving additional federal funding.

Now, if you’re looking for an example of partisanship in the allocation of homeland security funds, Democrat controlled New Jersey is a perfect example. As reported on August 2 by the Associated Press, the vast majority of homeland security funds granted by the state of New Jersey went to towns controlled by Democrats.

"These funds went to towns with a Democratic mayor by a 7-to-1 argin," [Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R)] said. "While the attorney general has not been willing to disclose the criteria that were used to determine where the money would go, I think it would be certainly safe to say that party affiliation of the legislators and town leaders was one of the top criteria."
How can anyone take anything Schumer, Corzine and Menendez say seriously? Responsible stewards of taxpayer money and citizen security, they are not!

Update - Please see our other post on homeland security funding:

Democrats View Republicans as A Cash Cow
Imagine If Facts Mattered
When It Comes To Security, Facts Matter
Federal Funds For Transit Security Go Unused


At 8:58 AM, Anonymous NJCONS said...

Thanks for putting this situation on your blog. I've noted this on mine here and here . I'm convinced that as a state we are completly unprepared for a major event.


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