U.S. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, issued the following statement about the President’s budget proposal for the Department of Homeland Security.

“The Majority Leader has said that he doesn’t intend to take up the President’s budget or any other budget, which is a troubling abdication of the Senate’s responsibility.  It is important that Congress actually does its job and designs a spending plan outlining national priorities.  That plan should control spending, reduce our debt, and fund highly effective programs to protect our nation.   

“The President’s request for the Department of Homeland Security totals $39.5 billion or $100 million below the FY 2012 enacted level.

“Unfortunately, the President suggests eliminating or rolling together several programs, including the successful Operation Stonegarden program.  Much of the funding for the resulting program, called the National Preparedness Grant Program, would be based on population and could undermine the intent of Congress and dramatically favor some parts of the country over others.

“Two of the September 11th hijackers boarded their airplane at an airport in Maine.  Others trained and plotted outside urban areas.  Homeland security challenges are not confined to large cities.  For the state of Maine with its long, rural border with Canada, it is particularly important that DHS continue to analyze the right mix of resources, ensuring there is effective use of personnel, technology, and international, state, and local agency partnerships that allow the border be open to our friends, but closed to those who would do us harm.  I believe homeland security grants are a key part of that mix.”