Mr. President, I would like to speak briefly about security funding that the State of Minnesota needs to prepare for the Presidential National Convention. The Republican convention is going to be held in Minnesota in September of 2008. And I know that the Senator from Oklahoma disagrees with our efforts to get funding for this important convention, for security.
But Mr. President I tell you today that I stand tall to protect the security of Republicans across the country when they come to my state.
The need for this funding is obvious and urgent. As my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are well aware, preparations for this Convention have already begun. I imagine that they would like security to be a high priority on the list of preparations. As a former prosecutor I know that you have to plan ahead of these things
Delaying this funding until the normal appropriations process would prevent federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies from conducting the proper planning that they need to do. This is an enormous effort that involves law enforcement from all over our state. We have to be reimbursed or taxpayers all over our state will have to foot the bill.
The Secretary of Homeland Security has already designated next year's event to be held in Minnesota a National Special Security Event based on threat assessment.
There is clear precedent for Congress providing convention cities with security funding. Just four years ago, Congress gave 50 million dollars each to New York and Boston, the two cities hosting Presidential Nomination Conventions to help them defer their security costs. This included a total of 50 million dollars designated as emergency spending. The bill provides an equal amount of money this year to Minnesota and Colorado and nothing more.
The funding was approved by the Appropriations committee with bipartisan support, including Chairman Byrd and Ranking Member Cochran. Senator Coleman also supports this funding. I support this funding. I join my Minnesota colleague and our friends from Colorado in insisting that the states we represent receive support equal to that support that Congress has provided in the past, and that the funding for convention security for the Republican convention in Minnesota be protected in this bill.