From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: New Reports Show U.S. Must Make First Responder Funding a Priority

August 22, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in response to two new studies indicating that first responders have not received adequate assistance from the Bush Administration. A study by The Rand Corporation for the Centers for Disease Control revealed widespread confusion among first responders about proper reaction to terrorist attacks, especially if they involved chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The study states, "Such uncertainty frustrates efforts to design a protection program and acquire the necessary technology." Another study by the National Association of School Resource Officers found that 90 percent of school security officials believe that schools are a "soft target" for terrorists and that 76 percent believe that schools are not prepared to protect our children.

"New studies from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Association of School Resource Officers reaffirmed that our nation is not prepared to respond adequately to a new attack. For months, Democrats have called for the Bush Administration and the Republicans in Congress to increase assistance to first responders in order to limit the harm another terrorist attack would cause.

"The needs of the men and women on the frontlines of the war on terrorism have not been made a high enough priority, despite what we learned nearly two years ago. The Bush Administration and Republicans in Congress have simply not done enough to meet our broad homeland security needs, whether it is funding our first responders; protecting our children while at school; securing our ports, borders, and air transportation system; or raising our level of preparedness.

"We must expand, significantly and quickly, our efforts to support our police officers, firefighters, public school safety officers, and other emergency response workers. They are on the frontlines, and we must provide them with the resources and tools they need to protect our nation against terrorist attacks. Otherwise, our families and communities will remain at tremendous risk."




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