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March 17, 2004

House hearing focus will include Port Security Grants

A Congressional hearing on Thursday will focus on the Administration's FY 2005 budget request to fund the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) emergency preparedness and response capabilities.

In particular, the hearing will examine budget requests for DHS's Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate (EP&R), the Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP), and First Responder funding.

The hearing by the U.S. House Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 18th in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building. Live audio and video broadcasts of the hearing will be available at the Committee's website: www.house.gov/transportation

The Administration's FY 2005 budget request reflects its proposal to move a variety of grant programs from their current locations to the newly-created Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. Among these is the Port Security grant program from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), FIRE grant program and EMPG grant program from EP&R. Additionally, the level of funding available for Port Security Grants is reduced to $46 million, less than 40 percent of the $124.5 million appropriated in FY 2004. In December 2002, the Coast Guard estimated the total costs of implementing domestic maritime security requirements at $1.1 billion for the first year and $4.9 billion over the following ten years.

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