Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mount Vernon, has introduced a bill to provide emergency funding for a program that sends federal money to state and local law officers. Loebsack says the money helps drug task forces in Iowa seize illegal drugs, as he says they used the money in 2007 to seize drugs valued at over 31 million dollars and help shut down over 350 meth labs.
"This funding is absolutely critical, not only in Iowa, but across the country for local law enforcement, especially drug task force programs, but treatment as well," Loebsack says. Loebsack says the funding got severely cut in the budget bill signed into law at the end of 2007.
The House approved 600-million dollars and the Senate approved 660-million, and in the end 170-million was approved. Loebsack says the idea is to restore 490-million dollars in emergency funding. Loebsack says the administration has cut funding for the program the last several years, and apparently doesn’t believe federal dollars should be sent to local law enforcement.
Loebsack says,"That’s the wrong approach as far as I’m concerned." He says it’s a worthwhile program and without federal funding, local law officers won’t be able to carry out these public safety functions. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a fellow Democrat, is sponsoring a similar bill to restore the funding to what’s called the "Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant" program.