Quigley Offers Amendment to Redirect Border Wall Funds to Essential Homeland Security Grants
U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and House Intelligence Committee, offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2018 Homeland Security Subcommittee appropriations bill to increase funding for essential grant programs, including Urban Area Security Initiative grants and Transit Security funding, by redirecting resources from so-called border infrastructure funding.
“Protecting against new and evolving threats will not necessarily require additional spending, but it will require smarter spending,” said Rep. Quigley. “When it comes to national security, we must continue to ask ourselves what really keeps America safe in today's world. Unfortunately, this appropriations bill prioritizes $1.7 billion in funding to an unnecessary and impractical wall, instead of devoting the resources necessary to assist state and local law enforcement and emergency response activities to prepare for actual threats of terrorism. My amendment redirects this so-called border infrastructure funding, which will allow us to free up nearly $2 billion for spending on intelligence gathering, cyber security, and homeland security.”
Below are Rep. Quigley’s full remarks on the amendment, as prepared for delivery:
“In today's world, the threats we face are constantly changing and our ability to keep America safe relies on our capacity to adapt quickly to new and evolving threats. These threats are vastly different than the threats we faced after 9/11.
“That’s why I am offering this amendment to increase funding to essential grant programs that prioritize resources to confront this new reality.
“The recent terrorist attacks in Manchester, Nice, Paris, Orlando, Boston, and Brussels confirmed two things:
1) Soft targets like the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and the concert venue in Manchester, England are today’s largest security vulnerability. They are easy to attack and difficult to protect.
2) Threats are becoming harder to detect. New encryption technology and an emphasis on ‘lone-wolf’ attacks are making credible threats more difficult to uncover.
“It’s clear we need to redouble our efforts and reprioritize our funding to reduce our vulnerabilities. Security experts in my hometown of Chicago come to me with plans to keep the American public safe, but lack the resources to implement their strategies. Yet, alarmingly, current funding for the federal programs designed to keep America safe fails to meet the new and dangerous world we face.
“Since 2010, Congress has cut funding in half for Department of Homeland Security programs that were designed to protect things like soft targets.
“Urban Area Security Initiative grants, which large cities like Chicago use to invest in the training and equipment necessary to respond to their unique security challenges, have been cut by over $250 million. Transit security funding, used by the CTA to invest in camera systems that protect against terror attacks and have lowered crime by 50 percent, has been reduced by over 60 percent.
“All the while, this bill prioritizes 1.7 billion in funding to an unnecessary and impractical wall, instead of devoting the resources necessary to assist state and local law enforcement and emergency response activities to prepare for actual threats of terrorism. By simply redirecting this so-called border infrastructure funding, we can free up nearly $2 billion for spending on intelligence gathering, cyber security, and, in the case of my amendment, homeland security.
“People on both sides of the aisle agree. According to the Cato Institute, our intelligence and law enforcement has deterred over 50 cases of radical and violent extremism since 2010, but with fewer and fewer resources.
“Protecting against new and evolving threats will not necessarily require additional spending, but it will require smarter spending. When it comes to national security, we must continue to ask ourselves what really keeps America safe in today's world.
“Thank you, and I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.”