DM B8 Team 8 Fdr- 7-6-04 Letter From Sweeney Re Funds for First Responders and Commission Credibility 501

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JOHN E. SWEENEY ^ DISTRICT, NEW YORK COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS SELECT COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY RURAL HEALTH CARE COALITION OLDER AMERICANS CAUCUS NORTHEAST AGRICULTURE CAUCUS CONGRESSIONAL SPORTSMEN'S CAUCUS CONGRESSIONAL HORSE CAUCUS COMMITTEE ON IRISH AFFAIRS Congress of ti)e ttntteb of , BC 20515-3220 July 6, 2004 National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States 3017th Street, SW Room 5125 Washington, D.C. 20407 Dear Commissioner Members, Thank you for your dedication
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  JOHN E. SWEENEY ^ DISTRICT,NEW YORK COMMITTEEON APPROPRIATIONS SELECT COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY Congress of ti)e ttntteb of RURAL HEALTH CARE COALITIONOLDER AMERICANS CAUCUSNORTHEAST AGRICULTURE CAUCUS CONGRESSIONAL SPORTSMEN'S CAUCUSCONGRESSIONAL HORSE CAUCUSCOMMITTEE ON IRISH AFFAIRS .**** , BC 20515-3220 July 6, 2004National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States3017th Street, SWRoom 5125 Washington, D.C. 20407Dear Commissioner Members, Thank you for your dedication to answering lingering questions surrounding the terrorist attacksof September 11, 2001, and helping providing a full account of the preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks, as well as recommendations to guard against future attacks.I have had concerns, as have many of my colleagues, your work has become politicized. TheCommission must avoid any perception of partisanship in order to be viewed as credible by theAmerican people. For this reason, I urge you to focus on how we can make our nation safer instead ofassigning blameand finger pointing. Thatis theonlywayAmericacanmove forward from this terrible tragedy. On that note, thereis oneparticular aspectof thehomeland security debate thattheCommission can serve a noble purpose: the funding of our nation's first responders. As you know, the Bush administration and Secretary Ridge in testimony before the Commissionhavevoiced support for allocating homeland security resources based on risk. A growingconsensus is emerging among experts, executive branch officials, first responders and manymembers of Congress that state-of-the-art risk assessments should be based on independentanalysisofthreat.Thetenetsof this methodologymay bemonitoredtoassure taxpayers that funds spent on homeland security are being used to increase productivity.Currently, there is a perception among some that resources devoted to Homeland Security to be similar to funds spenttosupport other government agencies.As aMemberfromupstateNew York representing a Congressional district that is the 32nd most rural in the country, I have limited parochial interestinincreasing securityformetropolitan areas. However,as amemberofboth the House Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security and the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, and as one who lived through the aftermath of the attacks on9/11,1 know homeland security funds must be spent efficiently. 416CANNON HOUSE OFFICE BUILDINGWASHINGTON, DC 20515 202-226-5614 939 ROUTE146SUITE430 CLIFTONPARK,NY 12065 518-371-8839 SENATOR CHARLES D. COOK OFFICE BUILDING 111 MAIN STREET DELHI, NY 13753 607-746-9700 21 BAY STREET GLENS FALLS, NY 12801 518-792-3031 7578 NORTH BROADWAY REDHOOK, NY 12571 845-758-1222  First responder funds must be spent based on threat to protect critical infrastructure and agriculture or in high threat urban areas. The economic impact in a rural area may be as much ormore affected if there is another major terrorist attack in a metropolitan area.The risk-based funding approach has been extensively debated in Congress and endorsed by several Committees in the current version of H.R.3266, The Faster and Smarter Funding for FirstResponders Act of 2004. I have approved funding for all states and territories separate from risk to those localities in order to ensure minimum standards of protection are being put into place. Despite pubic controversy that has hurt the Commission at times, thereremains a great deal of credibility with the American people, and thus with the Congress. The Commission is presentedwith a golden opportunity to have a strong impact on current and future policy by making arobust statementtosupporta risk-basedfunding strategy. Ilook forwardtoreadingthe final Commission report and appreciate your consideration of my genuine request to ensurepreparedness against any future attacks.SincerelE. Sweene ,ber of Co:
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