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Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher and Congressman Carlos Gimenez Lead Bipartisan Effort To Maintain Local Counterterrorism Funding

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Congressman Carlos Gimenez (FL-28) led a bipartisan letter with their colleagues to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging him to pause the implementation of and review proposed changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).  The proposed changes would alter the formula that determines the level of annual funding high-risk urban areas—such as Harris and Fort Bend Counties—receive to protect their communities from acts of terrorism. 

“We understand the risk methodology for the UASI program has long been criticized as lacking transparency and subjected to seemingly arbitrary adjustments from year to year.  While we acknowledge the intent of FEMA to broaden the scope of the program during this FY2023 risk methodology review, it is imperative changes are not made to the detriment of the success of the local programs supported by the UASI program to date.  Modifications to the UASI risk methodology should be incremental and drafted in consultation with existing local programs,” the Members wrote

“The proposed risk methodology changes counter Congressional intent for this program and may leave our high-risk urban areas more vulnerable.  Therefore, we request the newly proposed methodology changes not be implemented at this time and that any future proposed changes to the methodology allow for additional collection and analysis of data as well as comprehensive input from local subject matter experts and Congress,” the Members continued

Last year, Congresswoman Fletcher voted for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which included $615 million for FEMA’s UASI.  In Fiscal Year 2022, the Houston Area UASI, made up of Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston, Montgomery, and Brazoria counties, received $24.6 million to assist with counterterrorism efforts.  

To view full text of the letter, click here