Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, joined the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, "The Homeland Security Department's Budget Submission for Fiscal Year 2013."

For more information on the hearing or to watch a webcast of the hearing, please click here.

His statement follows:

"Last year, we recognized the 10th anniversary of 9/11, a solemn occasion that not only reminded us of what we lost that day, but how far we've come as a nation. While we have made important strides in improving our homeland security efforts, we know there is still much work to be done. That is why it is so important that we continue to provide the Department of Homeland Security, our first responders, and others that keep us safe with the tools and resources they need to effectively and efficiently do their jobs.

"I believe the President has presented a responsible budget for the Department of Homeland Security that reflects the current fiscal realities that we are all facing. I recognize some important missions may see some cuts, but we must all share in the sacrifices required to rein in the deficit. Our nation needs to shift from a 'culture of spendthrift' to a 'culture of thrift,' where we endeavor to look in every nook and cranny of the federal government for ways in which we can save money. I've made it clear in the past that the Department of Defense (DOD) cannot be exempted from this effort and must make sacrifices, even during a time of war. The same holds true for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"The President and the DHS leadership seem to have gotten this message – proposing savings of about $850 million by cutting unnecessary travel, duplicative programs, and low priority initiatives. The DHS however, must be careful that its new efficiencies do not come at the expense of the valuable security gains our nation has made over the last 10 years.

"DHS has also taken a major step forward in becoming a better steward of the taxpayer dollar by improving the way it manages its finances. Since 2003, the Government Accountability Office has placed DHS's financial management on its 'high risk' list. However, with a lot of hard work and the attention of its leadership, DHS now has its accounting system in good enough order to conduct a full financial audit – a first for the Department. Just last year, I joined with Senators Scott Brown and Ron Johnson in introducing legislation that called for the Department to conduct and eventually pass a financial audit, which the Committee adopted as part of the DHS Authorization bill. While DHS must continue to make strides, I commend the Secretary for listening to the advice of Congress and making the Department's financial management a priority.

"The budget also continues to provide valuable grant dollars to our local communities and first responders, so that cities across Delaware and the nation can be better prepared for the next disaster. As a former Governor, I know the importance of these funds to our states, so I have some questions about the Department's proposals to makes significant changes to the grant program. If homeland security begins with hometown security, as the Secretary has stated, then DHS must better communicate the new requirements with state and local partners, as well as Congress, and ensure that the new process adequately addresses security risks in all our communities.

"Bringing balance to our federal budget will be difficult and will require some tough choices. But, just as I know that everything I do, I can do better, the federal government can also do better by making its operations more efficient and effective. I look forward to hearing from Secretary Napolitano about the Department's budget request and her efforts to make DHS work smarter while not compromising security."