House approves additional funding for SAFETY Act

The House of Representatives has voted to authorize $10.6 million to speed up corporate applications under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act.

Under provisions of the act, technology providers may apply to the Homeland Security Department for certification of their anti-terrorism products and receive protection from lawsuits seeking to recover damages following possible future terrorist attacks.

The funding was included in the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act, H.R. 1817, approved last week [see WT story]. It provides $5 million more for the SAFETY Act than requested in President Bush's budget. The legislation has been referred to the Senate for action.

"This increased funding for the SAFETY Act will speed up deployment of new technologies to protect Americans from terrorism," said Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "When terrorists kill Americans, the people who have helped us to be prepared shouldn't get hit with lawsuits. The SAFETY Act, and this money to help implement it, will ensure this doesn't happen. As a result, we will all be safer."

According to the committee, DHS has been slow in evaluating technologies looking for SAFETY Act protection. Of 201 pre-applications and 90 full applications submitted, the department has reached a final determination on only 24.

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