WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., has been chosen to receive this year’s National Emergency Management Association’s Congressional Recognition Award for his extensive work in “recognizing the importance of emergency management and homeland security.”
As Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee last year, Lieberman led the Congress to adopt legislation establishing a Department for Homeland Security, after having held 19 hearings on the subject, including hearings on infrastructure vulnerabilities and the role of state and local authorities. This year, as ranking member, Lieberman has closely monitored the creation of the new agency and has criticized the Administration’s failure to fund first responders adequately. In addition, he has traveled the country speaking to local first responders directly.
“I am honored to be recognized by NEMA, which has been an important resource to our Committee, and provided useful insights regarding the needs of first responders,” said Lieberman. “Now that the Department of Homeland Security is up and running, I’m sure NEMA will continue to play an important role in representing the needs of the emergency management community.”
On February 14, Lieberman delivered an address on next steps needed to protect the nation from terrorist attack. Specifically, he called for an additional $16 billion above the Administration’s 2004 budget request, $7.5 billion of which would be for first responders. He also called for the National Guard to help train first responders in catastrophic response, he proposed a National Homeland Security Academy to train future leaders in domestic defense, and he said first responders need access to federal terrorist watch lists, a 24-hour operations center in each state, and speedier security clearances so they can receive intelligence from federal agencies.
The Congressional Recognition Award will be presented to Senator Lieberman, and to other key members of Congress, at a reception on Tuesday, February 25, 2003, by NEMA. The Association represents the state directors of emergency management in the fifty states, US territories, and the District of Columbia. Emergency managers are responsible for responding to hazards and emergency preparations. They coordinate preparedness training, and help to make sure responders have the resources they need. Their mission is to provide national leadership and expertise in comprehensive emergency management, to serve as an emergency management information and assistance resource, and to advance continuous improvement in emergency management through strategic partnerships, innovative programs, and collaborative policy positions.and collaborative policy positions.