Last week, the Department of Home-
land Security announced drastic re-
ductions to anti-terrorism grant money that will be available to Alexandria’s City Hall. Although the Washington area requested $190 million in Urban Area Security Initiatives funding for 2006, the department chose to fund only $46 million. None of the money is allocated directly to the city government, but the federal money pays for everything from protective clothing for firefighters to increased courthouse security.
“We’re extremely disappointed,” said Mark Penn, Alexandria’s emergency management coordinator. “We really don’t understand how the department went about making this decision.”
Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) was sharply critical of the department’s decision, accusing the Bush administration of using the department for political purposes instead of ensuring the safety of American citizens.
“The Bush Administration has chosen pure politics over responsible public policy,” said Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) in a written statement. “They need to fully explain how and why they came to such a decision.”
Shortly after the grant reduction was announced, Moran led a bipartisan group of House members who sent a letter to Secretary Michael Chertoff opposing the cuts. Signatories to the letter included Rep. Tom Davis (R-11) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10). In a June 1 speech to the Brookings Institution, Secretary Chertoff defended the reduced levels of funding.
“It’s kind of like a capital program, and like any capital program, whether it’s building a new building, or rebuilding your house, you don’t invest the same amount of capital every single year,” Chertoff said. “We cannot protect every single person at every moment in every place against every threat. It’s not possible, and even if it were possible, it would be prohibitively expensive.”