(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) announced that a key Senate committee has rejected the Bush Administration's efforts to severely cut or eliminate critical first responder programs. As a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Murray played an integral part in adding more than $1.2 billion to the bill for programs ranging from grants for firefighter and law enforcement training to funding staff at local county emergency response call centers.

"Our first responders must be prepared for a range of terrorist threats, and that's why I fought for the federal funding they need," said Senator Murray. "This bill makes up for a lack of commitment by the Bush Administration to the brave men and women on the front lines of emergency response."

Senator Murray also announced $210 million in Port Security Grants, up from the $173 million appropriated in Fiscal Year 2006. Additionally, the bill provides $20.6 million in U.S Coast Guard funding for the Puget Sound Region and $24.75 million for the Response Boat Medium program being undertaken at Kvichak Shipyard.

"America's ports are vulnerable to attack, and this bill provides some of the security funding they need," Murray said. "We still need to create a comprehensive port security regime, so I again call on the Senate to pass the bipartisan GreenLane Maritime Cargo Security Act."

Next, the bill will go to the full Senate.

Funding for Washington state priorities include:

  • Providing for 20 additional FTEs at the Bellingham Northern Border Air Wing, bringing it to full staffing.

  • $20.6 million for U.S. Coast Guard District 13 in Seattle.

  • $24.75 million for the Response Boat Medium program in Kvichak Shipyard in Seattle.

  • $880,000 to finish the breakwater at Neah Bay.

  • $2.1 million for the Sector Command building in Seattle.

Funding for national programs includes:

  • $210 million in Port Security Grants.

  • $205 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants - Up from $170 million requested by President Bush

  • $655 million for Firefighter Assistance Grants – nearly doubles the President’s $293.5 million request.

  • $350 million for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program – the President’s request would have eliminated this program.

  • $35 million for the Metropolitan Medical Response program – the President’s request would have eliminated this program.
  • $25 million for Demonstration Training Grants – the President’s request would have eliminated this program.

  • The bill also rejects the President’s plan to place an additional tax on air travelers, and provides for an additional 1,000 border patrol agents.