2004-04-16 / Community

Weiner Chides Feds On Security Spending

Weiner Chides Feds On Security Spending

Congressman Anthony Weiner has decried the Department of Homeland Security’s distribution regarding the latest round of homeland security block grant funds. Once again, Weiner says, small, low threat states like Wyoming are getting much more per capita than New York. 

Weiner, a member of the House Homeland Security Task Force, and the lead Democratic cosponsor of legislation to boost funding for New York under the block grant program, issued the following statement:

"Handing out homeland security funds without taking threat into account is like trying to fight terrorists with your eyes closed. The results would be ridiculous, if they weren’t so dangerous. 

"Any calculus that gives New York $5.38 per capita to fight terror, while providing Wyoming with $37.52, Vermont with $31.24, and North Dakota with $30.64 is less about security than it is plain old pork barrel politics." In November, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the homelaecurity block grant program would be funded at $2.2 billion this year. DHS began issuing checks to the states today.

Under the block grant program, every state is guaranteed a bare minimum of 0.75% of the pot (which eats up 40% of the total funds), plus a share of the remaining 60%, based on population. As a result, much more per capita funding goes to smaller states, where the risk is low, than to New York, a big state where the risk couldn’t be higher.  New York (which will receive a $103,243,000 share) gets $5.38 per capita, while places like Wyoming gets $37.52, Vermont gets $31.24, and North Dakota gets $30.64.

Weiner is the lead Democratic cosponsor of the First Responders Funding Reform Act of 2003, introduced by Rep. John Sweeney (D-NY), which would change the block grant formula to account for threat. He is also the author of the Targeting Homeland Security Resources Effectively Against Terrorism Act (THREAT Act) that would cap the number of cities eligible for funding under the High Threat High Density Urban Area Grants account, at fifteen, thereby reserving more for New York City.

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