What: All Issues H.R. 1544. Homeland Security/Vote on Amendment to Reduce Number of Cities Eligible for First-Responder Grants. (2005 house Roll Call 169)
 Who: All Members
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H.R. 1544. Homeland Security/Vote on Amendment to Reduce Number of Cities Eligible for First-Responder Grants.
house Roll Call 169     May 12, 2005
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss
Qualifies as polarizing?
Yes
Is this vote crucial?
Yes

In this vote, the House overwhelmingly defeated an amendment offered by Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to reduce the number of cities that would be eligible for first-responder grants under H.R. 1544. H.R. 1544 was a bill to change the way the federal government allocates homeland security grants for first-responders (e.g., police and fire departments). Weiner's amendment proposed to reduce the number of cities that would be eligible for these grants in order to concentrate them on very large cities. Taking the Progressive position, Weiner argued that these grants were originally meant to have gone to only 6 major cities due to the large level of danger these cities faced from terrorism and other threats. Over the past few years, he continued, the recipient-pool had grown to include other cities, suburban areas and airport authorities. Weiner contended that any congressional increase in funds for the target cities was being diluted by the Department of Homeland Security's continued inclusion of more and more jurisdictions to which it distributed those funds, and that the Department was thus acting against the will of Congress. Weiner also stated that rural, suburban and other "areas that are not traditionally thought of as large urban areas" would not necessarily lose the ability to apply for these funds because these areas would be permitted to pool together to apply for them. Republicans and a number of Democrats disagreed, arguing that the already established limit of 1.65 million people in a "region" was a sufficient limit on which areas could receive the grants. They also stated that a focus on "cities" over "regions" was not the right focus, and that "only regional grants, not State grants, may be able to address certain unique terrorism preparedness needs, such as risks that cross interstate or international boundaries, for example, bioterrorism or agro-terrorism." (Christopher Cox (R-CA).) In a defeat for Progressives, 102 Democrats joined Republicans to defeat this amendment by a vote of 88 to 331. Thus, all qualifying cities and regions could still apply for the first-responder Homeland Security grants contained in the bill.

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