Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blue States Unprotected 

At least Al Qaeda won't be able to hit all those ripe targets in Wyoming:
This was a sad week for the war on terror. The Senate voted, disgracefully, to shift homeland security money from high-risk areas to low-risk ones—a step that is likely to mean less money to defend New York and California against terrorism and more for states like Wyoming. Before the vote, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff made a powerful appeal to the senators to distribute the money based on risk. But the Senate, led by Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and other small-state representatives, put political pork ahead of national security...

Senators had a chance to fix next year's formula, but they voted to make it worse. The original homeland security budget would have allocated 70 percent of the money according to relative risks. Senators from the highest-risk states, led by Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, introduced an amendment to raise that number to 87 percent. Ms. Collins, supported by Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, introduced an amendment to lower to 60 percent the amount given out according to risk...

Financing formulas are technical, and there is no way to know precisely how much any state will wind up receiving. But at bottom, the senators had a choice between accepting the recommendation of the Homeland Security Department or the preference of senators from states with sparse populations that are highly unlikely targets for terrorism. They chose wrong. It is telling that the senators from the states most at risk - New York, California, New Jersey, Texas and Illinois - unanimously voted against the Collins amendment


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