Bay Ridge

Donovan passes first bill in House

Securing the Cities Act seeks to protect against terrorism

October 30, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan says his will insulate the Securing the Cities program from future budget cuts. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, who was elected on May 5, has reached a significant milestone, passing his first piece of legislation. A bill Donovan sponsored, the Securing the Cities Act of 2015, was overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 411-4 on Oct. 21.

The legislation seeks to permanently authorize the federal government’s Securing the Cities pilot program, insulating it from future cuts. Among other things, the program would provide the New York Police Department (NYPD) with funding to guard against radiological or nuclear attack, according to Donovan. The Securing the Cities program provides funding to the NYPD for equipment, tools, and training to detect radiological and nuclear weapons. Since its start in 2006, the program has provided New York City with more than 5,800 pieces of detection equipment, trained nearly 11,000 personnel and conducted more than 100 drills, according to Donovan.

“As New York City’s only majority representative, I want to make something clear: I will stand with my colleagues to fight to ensure this great city and its residents have the funding and the support necessary to combat those who wish to harm us. Now, with ISIS controlling large swaths of the Middle East, our vigilance cannot waver,” said Donovan (R-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island), who is the only Republican representing New York City in Congress.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton both hailed the passage of the Securing the Cities Act of 2015.

“The Securing the Cities Act would ensure that New York City permanently has the vital training and detection equipment we need to keep our people and our city safe. We know that New York is the number one terror target in the world – but the NYPD and our close collaboration with our federal partners continue to protect us,” de Blasio said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, New York City is a target for individuals and groups who wish to harm Americans. As long as that remains the case, the threat of a radiological or nuclear attack is a real possibility, making it imperative that NYPD personnel are properly trained and outfitted at all times. This legislation would provide permanent funding for training and equipment, allowing the members of the NYPD to continue protecting city residents, commuters and the millions of tourists who visit each year,” Bratton said.

The legislation will now move to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

“I ask that the Senate quickly take up this important legislation. National security comes before politics, and now is not the time for uncertainty in funding crucial detection programs for our nation’s top terrorist targets,” Donovan said.

The pilot program was expanded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to the Los Angeles/Long Beach region in fiscal year 2012, the National Capitol Region in fiscal year 2014, and Houston and Chicago for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. But the funding has come under threat because the program was established only as a pilot, Donovan said.

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