WASHINGTON, D.C.— According to a new study released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), homeland security grant funding is failing to reach first responders. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) today said congressional passage of her legislation, the Homeland Security Grant Enhancement Act (S. 1245), would ensure that first responders receive federal grant money more timely and effectively.
“This report indicates that there is a clear need for legislation to ensure that homeland security funding reaches our first responders, who are on the front lines in the war against terrorism,” she said. “We need to untangle the web of homeland security grants to make sure our first responders are receiving assistance they need to protect our communities.”
The DHS OIG report revealed that unclear federal requirements, complex state and local planning processes, lengthy state and local procurement mechanisms, and other factors have slowed billions of dollars in homeland security funding from reaching first responders.
“My legislation would ensure that local governments and first responders receive funding in a timely fashion by holding states accountable, promoting more local input into the allocation of homeland security funding, and simplifying the application process,” said Senator Collins.
Senator Collins’ homeland security grant legislation would provide first responders with the resources they need to protect their communities by increasing first responders’ and local officials’ input into how funding is spent; providing a long-term, steady stream of funding to every state; nearly tripling the proportion of funds distributed using a risk-based formula; making it easier to apply for federal grants; promoting flexibility in the use of homeland security funding; and protecting programs that work, such as the FIRE Act.
Senator Collins’ Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security, unanimously approved S. 1245 in June. Senator Collins is working with Senate leadership to determine when the legislation will be brought to the Senate floor for debate.