Saturday, October 23, 2004

On October 18, President Bush irresponsibly cut funding for first responders.

Why you’re right:

- The 2005 Homeland Security Appropriations Act, signed by the President on October 18, cut overall funding for first responders by $500 million. (International Association of Fire Fighters)

- A major program providing assistance to firefighters (the FIRE Act) was cut by $100 million. (International Association of Fire Fighters)

- Homeland security block grants for states were cut by $600 million. (Firehouse.com)

- Urban search and rescue grants were cut by $30 million. (International Association of Fire Fighters)

- According to the Council on Foreign Relations even if funding was maintained at 2004 levels, “our country will be $98.4 billion short of meeting 'critical emergency responder needs' over the next five years” (International Association of Fire Fighters)

Why they’re wrong:

1. You can’t blame this on Congress. The administration proposed even deeper cuts in first responder funding. For example, the administration proposed cutting assistance to firefighters by $250 million. (International Association of Fire Fighters)

2. Even Bush doesn’t claim the bill provides increases. In his most recent radio address (Oct. 23) Bush said the bill provides “vital money for first responders.” Note: he doesn’t claim the bill provides more money for first responders. (White House)