nt-size: medium; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: normal; orphans: 2; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px;">Washington, DC- During a Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing today, Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX 12) questioned Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen about the growing need to contain spillover violence from Mexican drug gangs operating in border cities such as Juarez and Nuevo Laredo, as well as the larger issue of the United States Government security aid and assistance to Mexico.

Granger has been in close consultation with the Defense Department, State Department and Governor Rick Perry’s office on how the United States Government, in cooperation with the State of Texas, can prevent violence from percolating out of Mexican cities into the United States. Granger is the most senior Republican member on the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, and has been responsible for fulfilling the U.S. financial commitment to the Merida Initiative. Merida was designed to help Mexico battle drug cartels.  While the committee has met the funding commitment for this important initiative, the level of violence has increased drastically, and there is a renewed interest in sustaining or renewing the program.

This week, Granger announced that the State Department would redirect $83.5 million from the FY 2009 Supplemental to be used for the purchase of three Blackhawk helicopters for anti- narcotic operations in Northern Mexico.

At today’s hearing, Granger inquired about: 

1)       Any progress that was made during high-level diplomatic meetings in Mexico City between Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, Secretary Clinton, and senior Mexican diplomats.

2)      Governor Rick Perry’s year-old request to Secretary Gates and President Obama to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border under Title 32 authority.

3)      The ability for the Department of Defense to expedite delivery of promised technology and equipment to the Mexican Government.

“As of yesterday, the United States and Mexican Governments drafted a completely new strategy for dealing with the increased violence in Northern Mexico.  There is a joint recognition that the stability and security of Mexico is not just an issue for the state of Texas but is a major threat to our homeland security,” Granger said. “Governor Perry and the Texas delegation understand that without immediate action, the risk of American casualties will continue to rise. We are dealing with the most sophisticated, 21st Century drug gangs that use the most brutal methods to intimidate and infiltrate Mexican law enforcement, the press, and those who are tasked with weeding out corruption and violence. We must continue to work with the Mexican Government to ensure we protect our own national security.”