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Titus urges full funding of grants after Las Vegas shooting

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary-nominee Kirstjen Nielsen was urged Tuesday to restore funding for urban security grants to provide additional resources to Las Vegas in the wake of the mass shooting a month ago.

Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., urged the nominee in a letter to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security for Urban Area Security Initiative grants, designed to help cities prevent and respond to terrorism or emergency situations.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Fusion Center has been a recipient of the grants, receiving $3 million in the past two years. But President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint for fiscal year 2018, which began Oct. 1, seeks to reduce funding for the grants by $150 million, to $430 million, and would require states and local governments to provide a 25 percent match on federal funds.

Titus said the Fusion Center “played a crucial role as a coordination center for law enforcement and public safety agencies during the horrific 1 October tragedy in Las Vegas.”

Nielsen was nominated by Trump on Oct. 12 to serve as DHS secretary. If confirmed by the Senate, she would replace Gen. John Kelly, who left to become White House chief of staff.

Appropriations for this fiscal year are currently being written in spending bills by Congress.

Titus asked Nielsen in a letter to reconsider the budget cut and modify the risk-validation process for the grants to better reflect Las Vegas’ high tourism levels.

“This awful event emphasized the distinct risks Las Vegas faces as a center of tourism and the need for special consideration of places like Southern Nevada in calculating and distributing UASI funds,” Titus said of the shooting.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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