FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2007
Schumer, Clinton Offer Amendments To Bolster 9/11 Recommendations Bill To Fix Homeland Security Funding To Ensure New York Gets Its Fair Share
Two Amendments Would Help Fix DHS High Threat Funding By Eliminating Peer Review Process for UASI funding and By Allowing More Overtime Expenses
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton today offered two major amendments to the Improving America's Security Act (S. 4) currently being considered by the Senate. The amendments will mandate the Department of Homeland Security abandon its use of the peer review process for high threat UASI funding, and will adjust need-based high threat funding guidelines so that unlimited overtime costs are legitimate expenses when assessing need-based funding.
"For people in high risk areas like New York, fixing homeland security funding rules is a top priority so places that are really at risk get the funding they need. These amendments will fix two glaring problems in our funding formulas. First, we'll get rid of the peer review process, which slashed New York City's homeland security funding last year. Anyone who spent time at Ground Zero can tell you that, in a disaster, we depend on our first responders incredible dedication to the job. We've got to take overtime pay into consideration when planning for homeland security needs. There's just no way we can respond to disasters if we can only pay people from nine-to-five."
"It is unthinkable that more than five years after 9/11, we are still embroiled in a fight to properly allocate our limited homeland security dollars. New York and other vulnerable areas facing the highest risk of attack must constantly remain on high alert. They continue to struggle to shoulder the staggering costs of maintaining this high level of vigilance. It is past time that we heed the advice of the 9/11 Commission and allocate our limited resources on the basis of risk. Our high threat cities need to be able to use these funds to pay our brave first responders for overtime. Making these common sense reforms is long overdue," said Senator Clinton. Below are summaries of the two amendments:
Eliminating the "Peer Review Process Used to Determine UASI Funding Allocations: The first amendment would eliminate the use of the peer review process for determining UASI grant allocation funding under the Homeland Security Grant Programs. Peer Review has been used by DHS in both FY06 and FY07 to allocate funds for UASI, which resulted in a 40% cut in funding for New York City in FY06.
Prevent DHS from Limiting The Amount of Overtime Expenses When Calculating High Threat Funding Allocations: The amendment would prohibit DHS from providing a limitation on the percentage or amount of any grant awarded under the Homeland Security Grant Program for any personnel costs, including overtime or backfill costs. This would apply to all DHS grant programs including UASI and SHSGP. The Senate bill caps personnel and overtime at 25%.