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Homeland Security grants spent on clowns and gyms


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Homeland Security grants spent on clowns and gyms

By Audrey Hudson


April 21, 2006

Fire departments are using Homeland Security grants to buy gym equipment, sponsor puppet and clown shows, and turn first responders into fitness trainers.

The spending choices are allowable under the guidelines of the Assistance to Firefighters grant administered by the Homeland Security Department, which has awarded nearly 250 grants since February totaling more than $25 million out of the current spending pot of $545 million.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff vowed to redirect grant spending based on risk of a terrorist attack, but Congress has ignored his pleas, federal officials say.

"The administration has not supported the funding for physical fitness equipment as part of the fire grant program," says Marc Short, Homeland Security spokesman. "Physical fitness is an individual responsibility."

The Bush administration has specifically asked Congress not to allow funding for physical fitness, but the members who run Congress' appropriation committees keep inserting the language into the department's budget, officials say.

The House last year passed the Faster and Smarter Funding for First Responders Act by a 409 to 10 vote to require several first responder grants be based on risk, however the firefighter grant was excluded from the legislation

Congress has got to be the worst group on Earth when it comes to managing money... They lose 26 billion and authorize 200 million dollar bridges to nowhere and use HS money for fitness equipment and clowns?

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The Grants program is going on right now. I had to set up the call center for them. They're making phone calls to see where the money needs to go.

On behalf of Extremeskins.com, should I peek my head in and tell them no fitness equipment or clowns? :laugh:

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