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Homeland security grants cut

The numbers for homeland security grant money for fiscal year 2006 are out, and while the budget for the program was cut by $120 million, nearly all of that cut was absorbed by New York and Washington, D.C. Now the politicians are out crying to the press because they won’t get all the pork-barrel projects they wanted.

The Department of Homeland Security moved from a distribution of money based strictly on population to one which was based more on assessment of local risks. At least in theory. The numbers by themselves don’t suggest one way or the other whether that money is going to things which will actually improve security or to more useless pork-barrel type spending which won’t do anything for anyone but the Member of Congress who got it pushed through.

And it’s hard to understand why D.C. politicians are so upset; even with the cuts they’re still making out like bandits compared to the other states.

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said he was “disappointed” by the decision.

“I think it’s short-sighted for the federal government to cut funds this way. We remain a target area,” Williams said at his weekly press briefing in the John A. Wilson Building, about three blocks from the White House.

“My own guess is, with the demands, there had to be some reductions somewhere, but I don’t think this was the place to make those reductions,” he said.

That view was echoed by New York officials. “It’s absolutely indefensible, it’s disgraceful. As far as I’m concerned the Department of Homeland Security and the administration have declared war on New York,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee told the Associated Press. “It’s a knife in the back to New York and I’m going to do everything I can to make them very sorry they made this decision.” — Washington Post

You can be sure that the only people who will be sorry are the American people, as anything King is likely to do is just going to screw security for everyone else. In the meantime, D.C. will just have to go without the $10 million for “mass care shelters” for housing displaced people. Displaced? By what? Do they think the next Category 5 hurricane will hit Washington? And do they think anybody in their right mind, after seeing what happened to displaced people from New Orleans, will let themselves be herded into a “mass care shelter”? I call pork.

Update: Looks like there was a whole bunch of pork in here, after all.

While the House Appropriations Committee report accompanying the bill is relatively clean of specific earmarks, funding was added for a dizzying array of programs and organizations, including $75 million for the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program, $45.6 million for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, $41 million to build a backup data center, and $12 million for the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium.

The few specific organizations that do benefit from this funding are located in the districts of House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., and House Homeland Security Management Subcommittee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Ala., influential lawmakers who are not related. — CongressDaily

P.S. The DHS webmaster is still an idiot, this time for posting a press release and then replacing it with a fake 404 page. The title, “DHS Announces $1.7 Billion in Homeland Security Grants,” is still visible.

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