House GOP says terrorism, fiscal crisis are equal threats to security, prepares to slash DHS funding

"[T]he United States now faces an equally significant and perhaps broader threat from an unprecedented fiscal crisis -- a dire budgetary situation which has the potential to undermine the Nation's economy as well as its security," the report said. "The unquestioned need for fiscal restraint; the lessons learned from recent terrorist attacks; the near-constant occurrence of natural disasters across the country; and the heightened state of threats confronting our Nation serve as the basis for the Committee's fiscal year 2012 funding priorities for DHS."

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The report says DHS is "not absolved from fiscal responsibility" in light of the fiscal crisis, and insisted that spending cuts do not mean Republicans are abandoning national security.

"By insisting upon spending restraint, the Committee is not choosing between homeland security and fiscal discipline — both are serious national security priorities," it said.

Compared to administration's budget request, the bill would fund Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants to state and local-level first responders by $2.1 billion, two-thirds of the overall reduction from the administration's request. About half of the $1 billion in cuts compared to FY 2011 funding come from state and local firefighter assistance grants.

House Democrats argued in a "minority views" section of the report that the GOP bill "severely shortchanges our State and local partners who will be the first responders to terrorist attacks, natural disaster and other major emergencies. It also decimates the Department's research efforts on cyber security and other developing threats."

The House Rules Committee will meet Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to approve a rule for considering the bill.