Higgins Votes "NO" on 2011 Spending Plan

April 14, 2011 Updated Apr 14, 2011 at 5:11 PM EDT

By WKBW News


Higgins Votes "NO" on 2011 Spending Plan

April 14, 2011 Updated Apr 14, 2011 at 5:11 PM EDT

( release) Thursday, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted no on the 2011 federal spending bill, calling the plan particularly bad for Western New York priorities.

Higgins Said, “We need a budget that is fiscally responsible and creates jobs, instead what was before us today is a job killer for Western New York. It cuts medical research dollars which support jobs along our Medical Campus, threatens public safety by cutting police jobs in our communities, stifles economic development with Block Grant and waterfront development cuts and leaves Western New York Seniors out in the cold by slashing HEAP money. The federal government should be a partner in this region’s economic recovery and we will continue to fight to see that happen.”

Summary of Cuts in H.R. 1473 that Impact WNY

Medical Research

· Cuts National Institutes of Health by $260 million, which is severely inadequate given the rate of inflation and will result in fewer grant applications awarded, potentially impacting Roswell Park, the University at Buffalo, and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute. (H.R. 1 proposed a $1.6 billion cut.)

· Cuts Center for Disease Control by $69 million.

Health Care

· Cuts Community Health Centers by $600 million. This could stifle efforts locally to expand access to health care in both Erie and Chautauqua Counties. (H.R. 1 proposed a $1 billion cut.)

Economic Development/ Jobs

· Cuts Community Development Block Grants by $950 million, which will reduce funding for Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Lackawanna, Dunkirk, and Jamestown. This will abruptly decrease the funds available to communities across Western New York for economic development and neighborhood revitalization. (H.R. 1 proposed a $2.5 billion cut.)

· Cuts the Brownfields Redevelopment Program by $18 million. The South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area contains 1,800 acres of underutilized land alone. (H.R.1 eliminated the program.)

· Cuts non-defense environmental clean-up funding by $20 million, which means less funding will be available for West Valley.

· Cuts Youthbuild and Job Corps initiatives by $23 million, affecting local organizations such as Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and Improvement Corporation (CHRIC) and Cassadaga Job Corp. H.R. 1 proposed $102.5 million.

· Cuts Dislocated Worker Assistance by $125 million, Green jobs innovation fund by $40 million, AmeriCorps by $23 million, Economic Development Assistance programs by $9 million

· Corporation for Public Broadcasting is funded at $445 million, maintaining current funding levels. H.R. 1 eliminated funds for CPB.


· Cuts summer Pell Grant program grant funding, hurting institutions with a large number of Pell Grant awards like Trocaire. (Does not contain a 15% cut to the maximum Pell Grant award. Maximum Pell grant award maintained at $5,550. )

· Funds Head Start at $7.6 billion, $340 million above the enacted level and $1.4 billion above H.R. 1. This prevents 218,000 low-income children from being removed from Head Start. Each year, over 50,000 New York children and families participate in Head Start.

· Title I – no cut to the Title I education grant that would have cost 10,000 jobs

Transportation and Water Infrastructure

· Cuts WNY waterfront development by $11 million by rescinding earmarks: over $5 million in authorized by the transportation bill in 1987 and $6 million authorized in 1991 would be rescinded unless at least 10% of the funding has been sent out to contract by September 30, 2011.

· Cuts Army Corps of Engineers by $575 million despite the current backlog. This makes it less likely we will dredge our harbors or initiate major water projects.

· Cuts State Drinking Water and Waste Water Infrastructure funds by $997 million, making it difficult for Buffalo to eliminate CSO’s and other WNY localities to build or upkeep their infrastructure.

· Cuts Great Lakes Restoration Initiative $175 million, affecting an resource that generates jobs for over one million people, with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy.

· Rescinds $2.5 billion in highway contract authority.

· Cuts $650 from Federal Highway Investment and $293 from "Surface Transportation Priorities”

· Cuts High Speed Rail funding by $2.9 billion, making it tougher for Empire Corridor to secure funds turned away by other states

Public Safety

· Cuts the Community-Oriented Policy Services (COPS) Hiring Program by $296 million. Police departments in both Erie and Chautauqua Counties have benefited from this program, including the City of Buffalo and the City of Lackawanna.

· Cuts the Urban Area Security Initiative by $162 million. This will reduce the amount available for preparedness by Erie County and its local governments.

· Cuts FEMA Flood Map Modernization funds by $38 million, making it more difficult for us to push for the elimination of WNY neighborhoods from the requirement to purchase flood insurance.

· Cuts State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance by $415 million.

· Cuts Juvenile Justice Programs by $148 million

Veterans and Seniors

· Cuts Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funding by $390 million. This funding is directed to low-income families and seniors on a fixed income to help them heat their homes. During the 2009-2010 HEAP season, the program provided 203,237 benefits totaling $51.9 million in assistance to residents in Erie County and 31,818 benefits totaling $9.1 million in Chautauqua County.

· Reduces funding the Department of Energy can dedicate to weatherization assistance.

· Cuts construction of veterans facilities by $277 million

· Cuts for veterans supportive housing vouchers by $25 million