WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards announced June 3, 2004, that $20 million has been approved by the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee for 2005 homeland security training and projects at Texas A&M. The $20 million matches 2004 levels, overcoming budget recommendations from the Administration to cut funding to A&M by 62 percent, or $12.5 million.
The National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (NERRTC) under The Texas A&M University System is a member of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC), which is slated to receive $80 million in funding for homeland security programs nationwide under the 2005 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. As one of four consortium members, NERRTC will receive one-quarter, or $20 million.
“Texas A&M is a national leader on homeland security and this important funding is crucial for the safety of our citizens,” said Edwards, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “I am pleased that our request for the Subcommittee to reject drastic cuts was approved, and I will work on a bipartisan basis to support the $20 million funding through the legislative process.”
Texas A&M officials were grateful for the increased funding, thanking Congressman Edwards and the Texas delegation for their efforts.
“The continued funding and support of our efforts in homeland security is tremendous news,” said Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, Vice Chancellor & Dean of Engineering at Texas A&M University and Executive Director of NERRTC. “This funding is critical to the important mission of NERRTC–preparing communities to protect themselves from the scourge of terrorism. The citizens of Texas and indeed, the entire United States, are better equipped and prepared because of the hard work the Texas delegation of Representatives has made on our behalf.”
Congressman Edwards supported increased funding for A&M and NDPC, working with Rep. John Carter to coordinate a bipartisan support letter signed by 20 members of the Texas delegation to the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee recommending increased funding for Texas A&M. The approved funding reverses a $12.5 million cut under the Administration’s 2005 homeland security budget for Texas A&M.
“I am proud to work with John Carter and others on a bipartisan effort to ensure funds are made available for important homeland security projects at Texas A&M and around the country,” said Edwards. “The global war on terror demands that we act responsibly as a Congress to protect our present and future generations here at home.”
The NDPC is a partnership, created in 1998, made up of Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and the Departments of Homeland Security and Energy. The NDPC was created to provide a focused, threat responsive, long-term national capability for our emergency first responders. Edwards, as a member of the Appropriations Committee has played a key role in Congress overseeing key homeland defense programs to protect America against acts of terrorism.