Mr. HIGGINS. Madam Speaker, on Monday, I hosted a field hearing of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, on which I serve as ranking member. This was an opportunity for the committee to hear from local officials on the decision to eliminate Buffalo-Niagara from the Urban Area Security Initiative program.
Niagara County Sheriff Voutour and Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services Daniel Neaverth testified that the capability gains made under this program cannot be sustained without fully funding this program. The Federal investment that supported the security gains achieved over the past 8 years in this program will be lost unless we fully fund this program.
Madam Speaker, the witness testimony made clear that the decision to eliminate Buffalo-Niagara from the Urban Areas Security Initiative program was ill-advised, shortsighted, and counterproductive. Congress and the Department of Homeland Security must reverse this course and restore Buffalo-Niagara's eligibility for this all-important program.