Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to approve H.R. 2892, Homeland Security Appropriations for FY2010, a fiscally responsible bill that focuses on border, aviation, rail, transit, port and first responder security improvements.
“National Homeland Security funding is put to good use right here in Western New York, providing critical resources for our first responders, protecting our waterways, securing our border, making our airports safer and our neighborhoods stronger,” said Congressman Higgins. “By establishing priorities, this bill effectively creates significant savings while maintaining our nation’s critical security and emergency needs. “
Highlights of the bill include:
• Customs and Border Protection: $10 billion to support over 20,000 border patrol agents. For Northern Border Security in particular:
o $40 million for Northern Border security technology
o $140 million for Customs and Border Protection’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative—a program that will expedite secure passenger and pedestrian travel along busy crossings including the Peace Bridge
• First Responders:
o $800 million for Firefighter Grants—In the last four years alone, fire companies in Congressman Higgins’ district have received over $12.26 million through the federal fire grant program.
• Airport Safety:
o $1 billion to purchase and install the latest explosive detection systems at airports nationwide, a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission
o $7.7 billion for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA): including:
$61 million for surface transportation security inspectors
$490 million for information technology
$28 million for intelligence
• Urban Area Security:
o $887 million for Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants to high-threat, high-density urban areas. Congressman Higgins has fought hard to keep the Western New York on the priority list for UASI funds. The City of Buffalo was awarded over $5.5 million in 2009 through this program.
• Cyber Security:
o $968 million for the Science and Technology Directorate to enhance cyber security, improved biological sensors, and increased investment in technologies for first responders
• Coast Guard:
o $9.97 billion to improve our port security and marine safety, help stop the flow of illegal drugs into this country, and improve the oversight of Coast Guard finances
• Transit Grants
o $250 million for rail and transit security grants to protect critical transit infrastructure, including freight rail and Amtrak
In total, this bill provides $44 billion for the Department of Homeland Security, a gross savings of $1.8 billion below 2009 levels, achieved through the elimination of 17 programs and other cuts. It will now move to the Senate for their consideration and approval.