Homeland Security

Congresswoman Lowey has a long record of support for efforts to fight terrorism through a combination of a strong defense, expert diplomacy, assistance for first responders, and special attention to security measures here at home.  She is working hard to make our nation and our region more secure through:

  • Ensuring local police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel are properly trained and equipped to keep our communities safe;
  • Protecting the security of nuclear facilities like Indian Point and surrounding areas;
  • Enhancing aviation security and protecting critical transportation networks like railroads and ports; and
  • Bolstering our public health infrastructure.

First Responders

As Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, one of Congresswoman Lowey’s top priorities in Congress is ensuring the New York metropolitan area receives the federal funding necessary to keep our nation’s most high-risk area safe.

Since September 11th, Lowey has helped secure more than $85 million in federal security funds for police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel in Westchester and Rockland Counties.  That funding has helped local first responder replace and upgrade critical equipment like license plate readers, interoperable communications networks, electronic command centers, breathing apparatuses, and much more.

Protecting New York’s Fair Share

New York is our nation’s metropolitan area at highest risk of terror attack.  Congresswoman Lowey believes strongly that our region must receive the largest share of federal homeland security funding, and will not allow New York to be short-changed in order to fund areas facing little to no risk.  That is why she has worked successfully to:

  • Limit the number of Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant recipients to avoid diluting the share for high-risk areas like New York;
  • Provide funding for the Securing the Cities radiological detection program, which protects New York from dirty bombs; and
  • Amend the PATRIOT Act to increase the percentage of dollars allocated on the basis of risk, which The New York Times called “the only acceptable approach that meets the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.”

Interoperable Communications

After September 11th, when first responders from various jurisdictions were unable to communicate with one another, Congresswoman Lowey successfully passed the CONNECT First Responders Act.  This grant program has funded more than $150 million in emergency communications initiatives to ensure that ineffective communications never again puts at risk the lives of emergency response teams and those they are working to protect during an emergency.

Nuclear Security

September 11th and the nuclear dangers following the 2011 earthquake in Japan underscored the vulnerability of our nuclear power plants to catastrophic terrorist attack and natural disasters.  Congresswoman Lowey believes the threat posed by the Indian Point nuclear plants is unacceptable because of the densely-populated surrounding area and the difficulty of safe and orderly evacuation in the event of an emergency.  To address national security issues relating to nuclear plants, Lowey supports efforts to mandate independent safety assessments of Indian Point and require state and county certification of emergency plans as a precondition for the continued operation of all plants.:

Read more about Congresswoman Lowey’s actions to address nuclear plant safety here.

Enhancing Aviation Security

September 11th exposed the vulnerability of aviation to terrorism.  Since then, Congresswoman Lowey has been a leader in enhancing security in airports and on airplanes.  Congresswoman Lowey has worked successfully to:

  • Enact a pilot program requiring screening of all airport employees with access to secure and sterile areas;
  • Bolster the accountability and integrity of covert security tests by prohibiting advance notification of tests by the Department of Homeland Security at screening checkpoints;
  • Foster a committed, career-oriented screener workforce by providing basic workplace protections and rights to more than 42,000 airport screeners; and
  • Enhance flight attendant training and prevent a reduction in the number of flights protected by federal air marshals.

Congresswoman Lowey is also working to require screening of all cargo on passenger aircraft and protect against shoulder-fired missiles by requiring anti-missile technologies on passenger jets.

Protecting Transportation Networks

Attacks on railways in Madrid, London, and Mumbai indicate the potential for terrorism targeting transportation networks – like railroads, ports, and bridges and tunnels – is real and urgent.  That is why Congresswoman Lowey is working to:

  • Close the enormous gap in spending on aviation security and spending on rail and public transportation security;
  • Strengthen intelligence sharing related to transportation security and improve safety and security for bridges and tunnels in the Northeast corridor;
  • Create an international cargo tracking system to map container and vessel movements and increase patrolling of coastal waters; and
  • Continue deploying radiological detection equipment to protect ports in the New York metropolitan area.

Preparing Public Health Infrastructure

Hospitals and other health care providers play a critical role in local and national preparedness against bioterrorism.  That is why Congresswoman Lowey worked successfully to pass the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act to:

  • Improve community planning and response to bioterrorism, and coordination among local, state, and federal authorities; and
  • Protect our food and water supply and ensure the availability of vaccines and treatments for all Americans.