Local Republicans have made much hay about Rep. Dave Reichert’s plum assignment as chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science, and Technology. A lot of good it’s done us:
Washington state and the Seattle area will receive less federal homeland-security funding this year than last, a decrease that mirrors a nationwide drop in counterterrorism spending.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced $1.7 billion in grants to states and urban areas Wednesday, including $32.2 million for Washington state overall and $9.2 million specifically for the Seattle area, which includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. In recent years a portion of the state grants also has gone to the Seattle area.
The state total amounts to a 23 percent reduction from last year, while the Seattle area decrease is 22 percent. Nationally, homeland-security grants were down by about the same percentage.
Security money is decreasing because Congress’ will to fund emergency preparedness is fading after the Sept. 11 attacks, said Eric Holdeman, director of emergency management for King County. Federal spending is also hampered by huge increases in spending for the Iraq war, Holdeman said.
The Seattle area should have received more because it is near the Canadian border and has a port, ferry system, high name-recognition and danger of earthquakes, he said. “I actually thought we would rank higher.”
Thanks Dave, for your powerful leadership on this issue… leadership that has earned Congress a failing grade from 9/11 commissioners on your willingness to implement its recommendations.