President Bush recently signed into law the first appropriations bill under the newly created Department of Homeland Security.

The Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2004 set aside money to better secure United States borders and transportation systems; fund research to counter chemical and biological weapons; assess infrastructure vulnerabilities; and give $4 billion in grants to first responders.

Before signing the bill, Bush reflected on the reasons the United States needs these funds to protect the country and vowed to help first responders meet that challenge.

“On September the 11th, America accepted a great mission, and that mission continues to this hour," he said. "The Homeland Security bill I will sign today commits $31 billion to securing our nation, over $14 million for Citizen Corps Councils through which volunteers work with first responders to prepare their communities for emergencies. We’re ensuring that American’s firefighters and police officers and emergency medical personnel have the best possible training and equipment and help they need to do their job.”
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