President Bush will seek a nearly 10 percent increase in spending on efforts to prevent terrorism in the U.S., reports the Washington Post. White House officials said the biggest chunk of extra funds for homeland security would include a 19 percent increase for Justice Department antiterrorism programs, to $2.6 billion. That would allow the FBI to devote more agents to investigating suspected terrorism and heighten the agency’s ability to gather intelligence. Most of the rest would go to the Department of Homeland Security.
Bush’s announcement on a New Mexico trip comes amid criticism from Democrats that the administration has spent too little on homeland security and local emergency responders. A survey released yesterday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that three-quarters of the 215 cities responding had not received their share of federal money set aside in fiscal 2003 to boost security and improve the readiness of police, firefighters, and other emergency personnel.
The new infusion of money would bring total federal expenditures on homeland security to about $30 billion. That amount would come on top of dramatic increases each year since the 9/11 attacks: a jump of 85 percent for fiscal 2003 and 24 percent last year.
About $500 million of Bush’s $2 billion increase would go to the FBI, whose budget has risen 44 percent since the 9/11 attacks to $4.6 billion. Bushs would push the total to $5.1 billion–60 percent more than the 2001 figure.