Senate Democrats


Call for budget that funds first responders and provides real security for the nation

Washington, DC — Joined by police from around the nation, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Joe Lieberman today called for a budget that invests in real security by funding America’s first responders.

Democrats believe America should be smart and tough, and want to give first responders like local police and firefighters the funding and the tools they need to protect the American people. Unfortunately, President Bush and his Republicans in Congress are supporting a budget that slashes funding for first responder programs–by 23 percent from 2006 and 50 percent from 2004–in order to spend billions to hand out tax breaks to special interest and multi-millionaires.

“This budget is a test for Republicans, forcing them to choose between rubberstamping the President’s policies and protecting the nation,” said Senator Reid. “Their budget would take police from the streets and leave our ports and trains vulnerable. We must make the investment needed to ensure our homeland security, because America deserves and demands better.”

“We know that when the men and women on the front lines of our defense respond to a disaster, they do not have the training, the equipment, and frequently the manpower they need,” said Senator Lieberman. “They don’t even have the basic capability to communicate with one another across jurisdictional and service lines, or, as the response to Katrina showed, to communicate at all. But the Administration has refused to provide the funding and the national leadership to make sure we are prepared for the disaster that we know will come. There is no cheap way to be better prepared. It takes money – more money than the Administration’s budget offers.”

In an increasingly dangerous world, America can do better than the dangerously incompetent Republican record on homeland security. Democrats are fighting for a fiscally sound budget that invests in real security by protecting America’s ports, supporting its veterans, funding its first responders, and implementing the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission.