I am not surprised that Mr. Bush's television ads attempt to trade on the heroism of those fire fighters in the September 11 attacks. Fire fighters are some of our nation's greatest heroes. But Mr. Bush's use of such 9-11 images is very hypocritical.
Initially, Mr. Bush opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, but now he uses its first anniversary as cause to promote his campaign. For the last two years, Mr. Bush has proposed budgets with no funding for FIRE Act grants that would help fire departments fund equipment needs, and yet he still plays on the image of America's bravest. In light of his actions, Mr. Bush's advertisements are shameful.
Mr. Bush is using the biggest disaster in our country's history to win sympathy for his campaign. Since the attacks, the Bush campaign has used images of Mr. Bush putting his arm around a retired FDNY fire fighter on the pile of rubble at ground zero. But for two and a half years he has shortchanged fire fighters and the safety of our homeland by not providing first responders with the resources they need to do the job that America requires.
Mr. Bush's actions have resulted in fire stations closing in communities around the country. Two-thirds of America's fire departments remain under-staffed because Mr. Bush fails to enforce a new law, passed with bipartisan support in Congress, that would put more fire fighters in our neighborhoods. Mr. Bush's budget proposes to cut Homeland Security Department funding for first responders by $700 million for next year and to cut funding for the FIRE Act by $250 million. In addition, state and local homeland security programs were slashed by another $200 million.
The citizens of this country need to know that Mr. Bush's ads do not reflect his poor record on protecting our communities' safety and on providing resources for the Americans who will be the first to respond in an emergency.
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