Feds tardy with homeland security funding, governors say

The Bush administration and Congress have not followed through on their pledge to provide state and local governments with nearly $6 billion in homeland security funding, said Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes at a Sept. 19 news conference in Washington to announce new homeland security initiatives by the states.

"It appears no congressional action [on the funding] is imminent," Barnes said, later adding, "We can't wait until next year to get this money."

During the news conference, Barnes and other members of a National Governors Association task force outlined their homeland security strategy. They also released a thought paper on state driver's licensing, announced the creation of a homeland security task force and announced a pilot project to improve information sharing within and among states.

The governors expected to receive four separate blocks of funding from Congress this year, Barnes said.

While states have received a small amount of funding to compensate for physical security and bioterrorism response, they have not received either a $2.5 billion for emergency equipment and operations and another $3.5 billion for first responders, he said.

The Office of Management and Budget has frozen the $2.5 billion, of which congressional leaders said governors would receive $900 million, he said.

The governors called on the federal government in the future to clearly define the amount of money it will provide states for homeland security and provide funding on an ongoing basis.

Barnes and Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt are co-chairs of the five-person NGA Homeland Security Task Force. The other members are Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton, Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Miner.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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