Washington D.C. (WKBW release) -- New York Congressman Brian Higgins, who on Wednesday night spoke out against a provision in the FY2012 Homeland Security Appropriation bill that would have eliminated Urban Area Security Initiative funding for the Buffalo-Niagara region, issued a statement Thursday after the House of Representatives voted to reject that provision and adopt an amendment that keeps the funding in place.
Higgins' statement reads:
“Today by a vote of 273-150 the House of Representatives voted to reject a provision in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would have excluded Buffalo-Niagara, Albany, Rochester, Syracuse and over other areas identified as high-risk from being eligible for funding through the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program.
“The intent to arbitrarily exclude some smaller but distinctive regions from the Urban Area Security Program despite demonstrated risk factors would have been devastating to Western New York and detrimental to national security. Thanks to the passage of this amendment we regain our opportunity to apply for these federal funds.
“We argued on the merits of this community’s unique features including: four international bridge crossings; the Niagara Power Project which serves as the largest electricity producer in New York State; and the homegrown al-Qaeda terrorist cell, the Lackawanna Six. And with facts in hand and the truth on our side we fought this measure, which would have completely cut the opportunity for the Buffalo-Erie-Niagara region to receive this funding, and won.
“I’d like to thank Congressmembers Reichert, Tonko, Slaughter, Capps, Wasserman Schultz, Ellison, Cuellar, Moore, Fudge, Wilson, Reyes, Berkley, Brown, Matsui, Himes, Heck, Blumenauer, Pierluisi, Rigell, Hastings and Stivers who led this fight with us.”