The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday adopted by voice vote an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act that would maintain funding for the Port Security Grant program.
Last year, Congress appropriated $97.5 million for the program, a quarter of the amount available in 2009.
Port authorities, facility operators, and state and local governments can apply for port security grants to implement area-wide and facility-specific security plans. Among the eligible risk-reduction techniques are enhanced sensors to detect activity on the waterfront, port recovery and resilience capabilities, maritime security training and exercises, and counter-measures for improvised explosive devices and other non-conventional weapons. Grant sponsors must contribute 25 percent of their program's cost.
The amendment offered by California Democrats Janice Hahn and Julia Brownley would stabilize funding for the program at last year's level.
"The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach alone are responsible for 44 percent of all of the
goods that come into this country and account for 20 percent of our nation’s
GDP. Any attack on these ports would not only be disastrous for my
district but for the nation as a whole. And yet, Congress has cut funding
for this critical port security program despite the fact that ports remain
extremely vulnerable to attack," Hahn said in a news release.
The House is expected to vote today on the DHS Appropriations Act. - Eric Kulisch