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Higgins Responds to President’s Budget

Feb 14, 2011
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) provided initial reaction to President Obama’s 2012 federal budget released today.

“Today the President gave us a framework that prioritizes job creation in America, while meeting the necessary challenges that come with cutting costs,” said Congressman Higgins.

The President’s proposal reduces the deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next decade. 

Below are some highlights:

Infrastructure Investment:

Higgins, a member of the House Committees on Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs, added, “There are funding areas that include significant resources available for the Peace Bridge project which can deliver on multiple national goals including: growing jobs and economic opportunity, expanding our exports and securing our borders.” 

In addition to the six core Federal Highway programs, the 2012 Budget request includes $25 billion to be apportioned to the States for critical highway infrastructure on an enhanced National Highway System, $2.2 billion to support significant improvements at land ports of entry facilities which link directly to the transportation infrastructure at border crossing locations.

Includes $30 billion over six years for a pioneering National Infrastructure Bank to invest in projects of regional or national significance to the economy.

Includes a six-year, $556 billion surface reauthorization plan to modernize the country’s surface transportation infrastructure, create jobs, and pave the way for long-term economic growth.

Biomedical Research:

The Budget includes $32 billion for basic and applied biomedical research supported by NIH both on campus and at academic and independent research institutions across the country.

Also a member of the Congressional Cancer Caucus, Higgins noted, “While the funding can never quite meet the aggressive pace of medical research, a sustained investment in this area will help facilities like Roswell Park Cancer Institute as well as other companies along the Buffalo-Niagara Medical campus continue breakthrough discoveries while supporting local jobs.”

Research and Development:

To lead in the industries of tomorrow, it is critical that we invest in R&D today. The President’s budget provides $29.5 billion, a 12 percent increase over the 2010 enacted levels in the area of Energy, a move designed to keep the U.S. internationally competitive, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and increase national security.

Education/Preparing our Children for the Future:

Students need to master science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in order to thrive in the 21st Century economy, and we have seen other nations eclipse ours in preparing their children in these critical fields. The President has set the am¬bitious goal of preparing 100,000 STEM teach¬ers over the next decade, and recruiting 10,000 STEM teachers over the next two years.

Veterans:

Provides a 10.6 percent increase over 2010 to meet increased demand for health care and other benefits for our returning military men and women.

While Congressman Higgins recognizes the economic reality, he expressed concerns about how some of the budget proposals could impact Western New York:

Great Lakes:

Reduces funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by $125 million below the previous enacted level, which will impact clean water restoration efforts in Lake Erie.

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP):

Brings Cost of LIHEAP Down to Previous Levels. During this period of tough budget choices, the President’s Budget provides $2.57 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help struggling families make ends meet by offsetting some of their home heating and cooling costs.

Water Infrastructure:

Reduces funding for State Revolving Funds by $950 million.  This program is important to the Western New York community which is home to older water and sewer infrastructure.

Community Development Block Grants:

The Budget provides $3.7 billion in flexible Community Development Block Grant funds to State and local governments to address infrastructure, affordable housing, and economic development needs in their communities. This is a reduction of 7.5 percent or $300 million in funding.