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Homeland Security Department releases $566 million for states

Cities, states cite fiscal strain

From Jeanne Meserve
CNN Washington Bureau

President Bush poses with employees at the launch of the department last month.
President Bush poses with employees at the launch of the department last month.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After months of clamoring by governors, mayors and members of Congress, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday the release of roughly $566 million for firemen, police, medical workers and others who would be the first to respond to terror attacks.

The money can be used for training, exercises and equipment.

After a long delay that sparked criticism and partisan bickering, the money was included in the fiscal year 2003 budget, and is being released a little more than two weeks after President Bush signed the budget, quick action for the federal government.

States can submit applications for the grant money over the Internet. They will be advised of the status of their application within seven days, and money will be disbursed within three weeks of an application's approval, according to plans.

Funding levels for each state were set by Congress. The three largest pots of money will go to California (approximately $45 million), Texas (approximately $29 million), and New York (approximately $26 million). The District of Columbia is eligible to receive about $4.9 million.

States can then disburse the money to localities.

"The country can not be secured from Washington, D.C.," a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said. "The states and cities have a very, very, important role in homeland security and this money will help them accomplish their mission."

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