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Congressman Tom Rooney Can’t Be Trusted to Keep South Florida Safe

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NEWS FROM THE FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY
For Immediate Release: November 2, 2011
Contact: Brannon Jordan, (850) 222-3411

Congressman Tom Rooney Can’t Be Trusted to Keep South Florida Safe

Tallahassee, FL - South Floridians cannot trust Congressman Tom Rooney (FL-16) to protect them fromterrorism.  On multiple occasions, Congressman Rooney put politics ahead of his constituents and voted to cut or eliminate funding for Homeland Security and our first responders.  While Rooney recently signed a letter expressing concern for the region’s lack of homeland security funding, what Congressman West didn’t tell you was that his vote would endanger South Floridians and leave them vulnerable to terrorism.

“Congressman Tom Rooney got in line with his Republican leadership instead of fully funding the security needs of South Florida,” said Brannon Jordan of the Florida Democratic Party.  “Now Congressman Rooney would have you believe he is concerned about budget cuts that leave Florida vulnerable to terrorism, butSouth Floridians now understand that they cannot trust Congressman Rooney toput their safety before politics.”

Background:

Rooney Voted to Eliminate Fort Lauderdale/Miami from Receiving Urban Area Security Initiative Funding in 2012.  On June 2, 2011, the House of Representatives voted in favor of HR 2017, the Homeland Security Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012.  Compared to fiscal year 2010 funding, bill included funding cuts to help states and local communities prepare for disasters and protect local residents.  The bill included cuts to “almost every first responder grant program” including the Urban Areas Security Initiative, a program that helped finance terrorism preparedness in the Miami area.  If enacted, the bill would limit eligibility in the Urban Areas Security Initiative to just 10 cities.  As a result, Miami/Fort/Lauderdale would receive fewer resources to fight terrorism.  [HR 2017, Voted #409, 6/2/11; Homeland Security Committee Press Release, 5/11]

Rooney Voted to Cut Urban Areas Security Initiative by $162 Million for 2011.  On April 13, 2011, the House of Representatives voted to pass HR 1473, a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2011.  Compared to fiscal year 2010 funding, the bill cut $162 million for the Urban Areas Security Initiative, a program meant to help states and local communities prepare for disasters and protect local residents.  As a result, Miami/Fort Lauderdale was expected to experience a 44% cut in funding in fiscal year 2011.  Additionally, the bill cut $2.5 billion from local law enforcement and first responder programs, forcing 36,000 police and first responders to lose their jobs.  [HR 1473, Vote #268, 4/14/11; Senate Appropriations Committee, 4/11/11; Homeland Security Committee Press Release, 5/11; Center for American Progress, 10/11; Homeland Security Committee Press Release, 5/11]

Rooney Voted To Cut $87 Million From the Urban Area Security Initiative for 2011.  On February 19, 2011, the House of Representatives voted for HR 1, a continuing resolution meant to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2011.  The bill included an $87 million cut to the Urban Area Security Initiative, a program that has previously help Miami prepare for disasters and protect local residents. The continuing resolution provided $800 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative.  In fiscal year 2010, funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative stood at $887 million.  [H.R. 1, Vote # 147, 2/19/11; H.R. 1, 2/19/11; PL 111-83, 10/28/09]

Rooney Sent a Letter to Homeland Security Asking for Increased Funding for Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.  On October 27, 2011, Rooney joined a letter expressing concern that fundingcuts to homeland security will leave Miami/Ft. Lauderdale vulnerable to terrorism.  “We write to express our strong support for the inclusion of the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) as a Tier I funding recipient under the annual UASI grant program.  Given a scheduled funding reduction of 44 percent for FY 2011, as well as proposed reductions for FY 2012, we are deeply concerned about the ability of the partnering counties, municipalities, and other participating entities to continue meeting the strategic homeland security needs of the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale UASI.  Therefore, we urge the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help safeguard the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale UASI against potential threats by ensuring that it receives the support and resources it needs and deserves.”  [Alcee Hastings Press Release, 10/27/11]

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