IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2002

Mayors, Police/Fire Chiefs Lobby Congress, Administration for Direct Homeland Security Funding
Also Seek Measures to Help Economy, Address Affordable Housing Crisis

Approximately 50 mayors and 40 police and fire chiefs from across the country gathered in Washington today to urge the Bush Administration and members of Congress to support direct homeland security funding for the nation's cities.


Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined by Senator Clinton, mayors and police chiefs during a Lobby Day press conference on Capitol Hill.
"We are on the frontlines in securing our nation," said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who is leading the lobbying effort. "We are here to say, in a strong and unified voice, that we cannot continue to shoulder these costs alone. We need an effective partnership with Washington that includes direct homeland security funding for our cities."

A recent study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that cities expect to spend more than $2.6 billion by the end of 2002 on security costs unanticipated before the September 11th attack. Cities across the country have yet to receive direct financial assistance from Washington for homeland security. President Bush has proposed $3.5 billion for first responders, but would funnel the money through the states. Mayors strongly prefer a homeland security block grant proposal, sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton, which would provide the resources directly to cities. Mayors and police/fire chiefs met this morning with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Attorney General John Ashcroft. Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will meet with Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and members of his leadership team, as well as with Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott and members of his leadership team. Throughout the day, small groups of mayors and police/fire chiefs will meet with key members of Congress from both parties. And the entire group of mayors and chiefs will join Senate Democrats for lunch.

Mayors also sought action to address the flagging economy, the nation's affordable housing crisis, and other key priorities for cities. Specifically, they asked Congress to:

  • Pass the Housing Affordability for America Act (HR 3995) with an amendment by Cong. Sanders to create a trust fund for the production/preservation of rental housing;
  • Fund job and skills training programs for U.S. workers;
  • Pass TANF reauthorization that increases funding for child care and includes education and training as allowable work activities;
  • Maintain and strengthen the nation's passenger rail system by fully funding Amtrak;
  • Fully fund successful anti-crime programs, especially COPS and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program; and
  • Enact legislation, already approved by the full House and the Senate Judiciary Committee, to remove barriers to federal-local intelligence information sharing.

More information about the mayors' key issues and positions is available at usmayors.org.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. The primary roles of the Conference of Mayors are to promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy; strengthen federal-city relationships; ensure that federal policy meets urban needs; provide mayors with leadership and management tools; and create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information. More information about the Conference is available at usmayors.org.

Contact:
Andy Solomon, (202) 861-6766

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©2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors