Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Pascrell: Republicans Continue Homeland Security Charad

Jun 24, 2003
Press Release

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ, 8th), a member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, today made the following statement regarding, H.R. 2555, the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.
 "Earlier today, the Democratic Homeland Security Task Force held a public forum on the state of our nation's preparedness for terror.  Testimony was not predominantly from Washington-based advisors or policy experts.  Instead, our forum consisted almost entirely of those who serve on our frontlines.

"Police, firefighters, hospital workers and local officials from across the nation-from El Paso, Texas to Passaic County, New Jersey-came before us and all said the same thing: 'the federal government has given too little funding to local communities and the Department of Homeland Security has provided too little direction.'

"What I heard today was merely a reiteration of the very real, very serious concerns that have been expressed by all the first responders in my district since September 11th.

"The first responders have spoken out in unison.  They have spoken out repeatedly.  A nation this size, with a population this vast, facing unparalleled threats and security requirements needs the full force of the government's backing.

"Unfortunately, yet again, the Republican bill before us today provides far from the full force our country needs.  The party in power continues to fail our nation's first responders, yet the House leadership and the White House continue to put their arms around first responders for photo ops, telling them 'we support you.'

 "When will the charade end?

 "When will this be a body that cares for the safety of local communities more than it does giving tax breaks for the very wealthiest among us?

 "After all that has been said and done-after the frequent terror threat alerts and intelligence that suggests an attack is inevitable-how can we, in good conscience, try to fund our security needs on the cheap?"