House passes Rep. Daniel Donovan bill for NYC nuclear detection
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- New York City is on its way to permanent federal funding to thwart attempts at nuclear attacks.
A bill sponsored by Rep. Daniel Donovan (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) passed in the House on Tuesday to permanently establish the Securing the Cities program, which provides funding to local agencies for training and equipment to "detect, analyze, and report nuclear and other radioactive materials," according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which funds the program.
The Senate must still vote on the bill.
The NYPD is the lead agency for the program in New York, which funds training and equipment. A few other major metropolitan areas get program funding, including the Washington, D.C., area, the Los Angeles region, Houston and Chicago.
Securing the Cities began in 2006 as a pilot project in New York City, where funds given to the NYPD were dispersed to other participating agencies.
The program has provided more than 5,800 pieces of detection equipment, trained nearly 11,000 personnel and conducted more than 100 drills, according to the DHS.
The bill, Donovan's first to pass in the House since elected in May, received a 411-4 vote.
By making the program permanent, the city's funding to guard against radiological or nuclear attacks would be more reliable.
"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," Donovan said in a statement. "Now, with ISIS controlling large swaths of the Middle East, our vigilance cannot waver."
The mayor and police commissioner praised the bill's passage.
"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," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. "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. We thank Congressman Donovan and our congressional delegation for their leadership in passing this critical program, and urge the Senate to quickly take up the Securing the Cities Act."
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton 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."