Washington, DC – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today approved legislation authored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) to authorize, for the first time, a federal homeland security state and urban area grant funding formula to target billions of dollars toward high-risk states and cities while ensuring that first responders in all states receive necessary equipment and training to prevent and be prepared for potential terrorist acts. The Collins-Lieberman Homeland Security Grant Enhancement Act of 2005 (S.21) was approved today by the Committee by unanimous voice vote and reported to the Senate.

“This bill considerably improves the homeland security state grant process so the entire nation will be better prepared to respond to the next terrorist attack. It distributes a greater percentage of funding to states based on threat than the current process, ensures that all grants are awarded only after states have completed an analysis of risk, threat, and vulnerability, and recognizes that all states need certain essential capabilities to prevent, prepare for, and react to terrorist attacks. In addition, our legislation requires greater input from first responders, allows greater flexibility for states and localities to put the funds to the best use, and establishes strong accountability measures to ensure that homeland security dollars are spent wisely,” said Senators Collins and Lieberman in a joint statement. “This legislation achieves the dual and equally important goals of addressing the needs of states with major metropolitan centers and small and rural states. It doubles the amount of funds distributed according to risk and vulnerability to terrorist attacks, while also providing states with the predictable, steady stream of homeland security dollars they need to defend themselves from terrorist threats.” Highlights of the Collins-Lieberman legislation: authorizes $2.925 billion for state grant programs, doubles threat-based funding; allocates a majority of funding to states and regions with highest risk, threat and vulnerabilities; establishes a sliding scale baseline minimum to ensure that states with greater population and density receive a bigger baseline and that every state receives at least .55% of appropriated funds; instructs DHS Secretary to establish essential capabilities to tie each dollar spend to the unique risk and preparedness needs of states and localities; requires greater input from local first responders; strengthens accountability of the state grant program. A full summary of the Collins-Lieberman Homeland Security Grant Enhancement Act is attached below. “The unanimous Committee vote shows that this legislation has struck the balance needed to stop the corrosive competition for dollars pitting large states against small. We expect broad support in the Senate and hope this bill will be passed as soon as possible,” the Senators added. Senator Lieberman’s full statement is available at: -30-