Casey Pushes Obama Administration to Fully Fund Disaster Preparedness Programs

Casey Warns Against Cuts that Make Communities Less Safe

Casey: In Wake of Unprecedented Storm Damage, Disaster Preparedness Vitally Important

 

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is urging the Obama administration to robustly fund grant programs that help Pennsylvania communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters.

“In the wake of a string of unprecedented disasters in Pennsylvania, now is not the time to cut programs that help our communities prepare for and respond to a range of threats,” said Senator Casey. “We cannot afford to cut disaster preparedness and response programs while many regions are still recovering from last year’s flooding.”

In letters to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Senator Casey pushed the agencies to request robust funding for Preparedness Grant Programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These programs fund grants for homeland security, emergency management and first responders.

Many of these programs experienced cuts in fiscal years 2011 and 2012, forcing communities to sacrifice measures to improve disaster preparedness.  As the federal agencies finalize their 2013 budget requests, Senator Casey is urging them to request robust funding and pledged to advocate for appropriate resources throughout the fiscal year 2013 budget cycle.

The full text of Senator Casey’s letters to OMB and DHS are below:

The Honorable Jeffrey Zients

Acting Director

Office of Management and Budget

Dear Mr. Zients:

As the Office of Managament and Budget finalizes the President’s budget request for the 2013 fiscal year, I strongly urge that robust funding be made available for Preparedness Grant Programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  These important programs, including the Homeland Security Grant Program, the Emergency Management Performance Grant, and the Assistance to Fire Fighters Grant, have helped to improve the ability of Pennsylvania communities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters.

Since 2002, FEMA has provided more than $30 billion to states, urban areas and other organizations to enhance prevention, response and recovery capabilities for all types of emergencies, including terrorist attacks and natural disasters.  These grants have enabled emergency responders across Pennsylvania to bolster their own capabilities and improve the safety and security of their communities.  However, many of these programs experienced significant cuts in both FY 2011 and FY 2012.  These spending reductions have forced communities to forego measures that would lead to improved readiness, such as purchasing new equipment, conducting training courses, or hiring additional personnel.        

If the Preparedness Grant Programs are subjected to further cuts in 2013, I am concerned that the lack of funding will negatively affect Pennsylvania’s ability to prepare for natural disasters and terrorist incidents.  The devastating flooding in 2011, from which Pennsylvanians are still struggling to recover, serves as a reminder that we cannot afford to underfund emergency preparedness and response.  I urge you to request robust funding for this critical homeland security need, and I stand ready to advocate for this funding throughout the FY 2013 budget cycle.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States

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The Honorable Janet Napolitano

Secretary

Department of Homeland Security

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

As the Department of Homeland Security finalizes its budget request for the 2013 fiscal year, I strongly urge that robust funding be made available for Preparedness Grant Programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  These important programs, including the Homeland Security Grant Program, the Emergency Management Performance Grant, and the Assistance to Fire Fighters Grant, have helped to improve the ability of Pennsylvania communities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters.

Since 2002, FEMA has provided more than $30 billion to states, urban areas and other organizations to enhance prevention, response and recovery capabilities for all types of emergencies, including terrorist attacks and natural disasters.  These grants have enabled emergency responders across Pennsylvania to bolster their own capabilities and improve the safety and security of their communities.  However, many of these programs experienced significant cuts in both FY 2011 and FY 2012.  These spending reductions have forced communities to forego measures that would lead to improved readiness, such as purchasing new equipment, conducting training courses, or hiring additional personnel.        

If the Preparedness Grant Programs are subjected to further cuts in 2013, I am concerned that the lack of funding will negatively affect Pennsylvania’s ability to prepare for natural disasters and terrorist incidents.  The devastating flooding in 2011, from which Pennsylvanians are still struggling to recover, serves as a reminder that we cannot afford to underfund emergency preparedness and response.  I urge you to request robust funding for this critical homeland security need, and I stand ready to advocate for this funding throughout the FY 2013 budget cycle.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

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