Murray Responds to Bush Cuts to Homeland Security Budget

Aug 13 2002

Calls Administration decision ‘Imprudent'

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray today responded to the Bush Administration's announcement to cut $5.1 billion from the nation's Homeland Security budget.

The Administration's decision will shortchange the budgets of such security operations as the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Senator Murray's statement follows:

"President Bush's decision to cut $5.1 billion from the Homeland Security budget will have a profound negative impact on our nation's ability to meet our growing security needs. The President is denying our communities the resources they desperately need to respond to an increased threat posed by global terrorism. By taking this action, the President is also seriously undermining our ability to meet tough, new federal security standards.

The Administration has characterized these cuts as an imposition of discipline on an unruly process. The only thing that's been unruly is the Administration's duplicity in dealing with the Congress and the American people on how it proposes to meet the challenges we all know we face. The Congress negotiated in good faith with the Administration on reaching a compromise agreement on emergency funding. Today's action by the President undermines his Administration's ability to work with the Congress in good faith in the future.

In the area of transportation alone, President Bush's cuts will be far-reaching, including: an $11 million cut to Coast Guard operations, a $262 million cut for critical Coast Guard procurement including funding for coastal patrol boats, a $150 million cut in support to the nation's airports as they work to meet the December deadline for installing explosive detection devices, and an astonishing $480 million cut from an already shortchanged Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) budget. Ironically, this last cut comes after weeks of the Administration blaming its inability to meet its goals on the inadequate funding level that the TSA had received.

These cuts could imperil our ability to begin implementing Operation Safe Commerce this year, as well as potentially denying our nation's ports $125 million in needed security grants. Operation Safe Commerce is a pilot program I introduced that will provide funding to implement a security system at America's container ports to address the security vulnerabilities posed by more than six million intermodal containers that enter U.S. ports each year. It is universally recognized, even within the Administration, that our nation's seaports represent one of our greatest security vulnerabilities.

These cuts are imprudent and stall progress on the federal government's obligation to better secure our nation. Not only do these cuts impede our ability to provide security for the American people, but at a time when our economy is faltering, they impact our nation's ability to put people back to work and recover."