Plan Would Eliminate Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative From Budget
In a letter to House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) is calling for the funding dedicated to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) to be redirected to Homeland Security and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) programs.
“I urge you to zero out funding for WHTI so that we can implement sound policy based on need, and to use that funding to offset other homeland security cuts for programs that already make a difference,” Congressman Higgins said in his letter to Chairman Spratt.
Congressman Higgins notes that President Bush’s 2008 budget includes $252.5 million in new, wasteful spending for the WHTI while slashing State Homeland Security Grants by $341 million and Urban Area Security Initiative grants by $111 million. The Congressman’s plan would eliminate funds for the flawed passport requirement program and instead supplement programs that directly affect national security needs by supporting local law enforcement and first responders, specifically those in high risk areas like Western New York.
“The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative would decimate the economic viability and cultural and social fabric of my district,” said Congressman Higgins. “I fail to see how requiring the use of one form of a passport or PASS card is more secure than the documents currently required for cross-border travel.”