Smith, Ridge discuss new cabinet-level homeland security department
During a hearing conducted in Washington by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on July 10, Sen. Bob Smith from New Hampshire, the senior Republican on the committee, highlighted the critical need for a coordinated and consolidated approach to terrorism preparedness.
Smith spoke with Tom Ridge, director of the White House Office of Homeland Security, who was testifying regarding the newly conceived cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, on issues over which the EPW Committee has jurisdiction, such as emergency preparedness and response and infrastructure security.
Smith talked about how his state would be affected by the new department. He said, “Throughout the Granite State, this new cabinet agency will play an important role — whether it be coordinating and providing resources for our first responders or the protection of our infrastructure such as Seabrook. And I plan to actively work with the administration to guide how this agency will address these issues.”
Also discussed at the hearing was Smith’s bipartisan legislation to improve the ability of first responders (fire, police and EMS workers) to respond to the acts of terrorism. The bill, titled “First Responder Terrorism Preparedness Act of 2002,” authorizes $3.5 billion annually for four years for a new first responder grant program to be administered by FEMA.