Senate Approves Carper Amendment to Rewrite Homeland Grant Funding Formula for States
Legislation Would Protect Small States, Like Delaware, That Have Security Risks
WASHINGTON (Oct. 4, 2004) – The Senate today approved an amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., that would rewrite the rules governing homeland security grants to ensure that smaller states, like Delaware, receive their fair share of federal aid. The amendment, which Carper co-authored with Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, was added unanimously to a larger bill designed to restructure the nation’s intelligence community. That legislation, which is based on the recommendations of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, is expected to pass the Senate later this week. Under current law, funding under the State Homeland Security Grant Program is distributed somewhat arbitrarily, mostly on a per-capita basis. That formula has come under attack by many states, especially larger or more at-risk states which argue that they aren’t receiving the federal dollars they deserve. In its recent report, the bipartisan 9-11 Commission agreed, saying the current grant formula doesn’t direct the federal government’s scarce homeland security resources to the states and localities that need them the most. The commission called on Congress to create a new formula based on an assessment of threats and vulnerabilities that takes into account both population and the presence of critical infrastructure, such as chemical facilities or ports, and other risk factors. Carper and Collins worked together for more than a year to produce a compromise grant formula that would ensure that big states, like California and New York, receive the money they need to address their substantial risks. This amendment would also protect smaller states, like Delaware, that may not have large populations but still have security concerns. “Right now, federal dollars aren’t going to places that need it most,” said Carper. “No one disputes that we should be spending more homeland security money in places like New York or Washington, D.C. But we have to remember that terrorists aren’t just looking to strike the big cities. Delaware may not be the most populous state, but we have real security concerns. This amendment protects the interests of Delawareans, and makes sure that our state can continue to rely on the federal government to help protect our chemical plants, our ports and our bustling financial center in Wilmington.” Specifically, the amendment would: Institute a new and fair formula for homeland security grants by focusing on BOTH population and security risks. Populous states would receive more money under the amendment, but smaller states, like Delaware, would also be eligible for more funding so that they can address vulnerabilities identified in their state homeland security plan or by the Department of Homeland Security. Maintain the “small-state minimum,” which guarantees that all states receive some homeland security funding.
Give the Department of Homeland Security the authority to distribute a portion of each year’s grant funding directly to large cities like New York or Washington, D.C. in order to meet their unique security needs.
Make the grant program more user-friendly. It streamlines the grant process by making it a 2-step process, not a 12-step one. It also requires that states pass grant funds to the local level within 60 days of receipt.
Grant states more flexibility to determine where federal money can be spent.
Call for an interagency review of all homeland security-related grant programs to ensure coordination and reduce duplicative requirements.