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Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this legislation. And I say that as one who has voted continually for reform at the U.N., has been critical of funding procedures involving the U.N.
But I'm here today to save lives. The fact is, contrary to what has been said, I don't want to get caught in an accounting debate. I don't want to get caught in a fight between Democrats and Republicans, between the Obama administration, the State Department, the U.N., between chairman and ranking members.
I am here because of the fact that this is not something that started 3 months ago or 4 months ago or 5 months ago. This has been an ongoing matter between the New York City Police Department and the U.N. and the State Department.
The results of an attack in this area would be catastrophic. I am not going to go into details. But anyone who wants to check the series of correspondence going back long before this became an issue here in Congress about how vital it was to have this $100 million in construction changes and hardening made, whether we are talking about First Avenue or FDR Drive or the perimeter, the fact is, this is a disaster waiting to happen.
And I would say to Members on both sides, if there is an attack, if there is a vehicle bomb, if there is an attack in these areas that have been designated by Commissioner Kelly, and we see hundreds of lives lost or thousands of lives lost, we're going to come back and say well, that could have been taken care of, but it was in this account rather than that account; it was authorized but not appropriated, or it was spent by the U.N. at the direction of the State Department and Congress didn't have time to act in time.
The fact is, this is a matter of life and death. This is a serious matter. I was on the phone late last night at midnight with the highest-ranking people in the New York City Police Department, and how vital this is to them.
We can have our debate back and forth. We can go back and forth as to when it should have been done, who was hiding what. The fact is, I'm concerned with saving lives, not just for New Yorkers, but all the tourists that visit there, the impact this would have.
And if people are concerned about saving money, put it in very harsh economic terms what this would do to our economy if a car bomb went off in the vicinity specified by Commissioner Kelly and we saw lives being lost, people being burned to death, we saw buildings coming down because we felt the money wasn't done exactly the appropriate way as far as which part of the balance sheet it came off.
So I am urging my colleagues to save lives, to do what has to be done for security, put partisan politics aside. And it's not just important to know the cost of something. It's important to know the value of something and the damage that can be caused if that value is impaired.
So I urge the defeat of this legislation.
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