Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is on the short list of candidates John Kerry’s Governor Tom Vilsack is attacking the Bush Administration over proposed cuts in homeland security spending. An internal memo calls for a reduction of up to one billion dollars in next year’s homeland security budget, and Vilsack says that would mean a 10 million dollar reduction in Iowa’s share of homeland security dollars. Vilsack says he hopes the decision will be reversed. In addition, Vilsack says there’s a federal plan to shift resources away from small states toward big cities, and he says that’s mean a one million dollar reduction in the funds Iowa’s getting to deal with bioterrorism. Vilsack says it’s troubling to have federal officials even talking about a reduction in homeland security spending when the Attorney General has warned the country of the heightened threat of a terrorist attack. Vilsack says the Bush Administration needs to send a more consistent message on homeland security. Vilsack spoke this morning at a news conference organized by the campaign of democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Vilsack denies his appearance was part of any audition to be Kerry’s runningmate.Vilsack says “it’s got nothin’ to do with any of that. This has to do with my job as governor. I am very concerned about the ability of this state to respond to a bioterrorism threat.” The nation’s unionized fire fighters have endorsed Kerry, and Jack Reed, president of the Iowa Professional Firefighters union, says Bush can’t talk about how important the war on terror is out of one side of his mouth and then cut support for the very people fighting it from the other. Reed says Kerry won’t stand for the cuts Bush is intending to make. The Bush Administration has said the memo outlining cuts in homeland security spending is just an initial discussion of options and not a cast-in-concrete plan.
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