WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, raised concerns over proposed cuts of nearly $450 million to Department of Homeland Security grant programs that support state and local counterterrorism preparedness programs.
WATCH Senator McCaskill urge Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to preserve funding for counterterrorism teams at recent hearing.
“It’s more important than ever that Missouri has the resources it needs to prepare for and prevent possible terrorist attacks,” McCaskill said. “As we increase overall funding for the Department of Homeland Security, it just doesn’t make any sense to cut the programs that are our eyes and ears on the ground and would be the first to respond if, God forbid, a terrorist attack did occur in Missouri.”
McCaskill wrote Secretary Kelly expressing “deep concerns about proposed cuts to several preparedness grant programs…[that] provide vital funding to state and local stakeholders in an effort to build resilience against terrorist attacks.” The programs facing cuts support communities through, for example, helping to fund SWAT teams, hospital equipment, and communications technology for law enforcement.
McCaskill has served on both the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Armed Services Committee since joining the Senate in 2007, and has made protecting American families at home and abroad a top priority. Earlier this month, McCaskill questioned Kelly over proposed cuts to the number of Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, which conduct sweeps of airports, train stations, and bus terminals in an effort to safeguard against terrorist attacks. She also recently introduced a bill to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security’s program that targets transnational criminal organizations on the border and at U.S. ports in order to combat drug and weapons trafficking and other crimes.
Read McCaskill’s letter to Kelly HERE.